A world-traveled art professor - a teacher of people of all ages and a visionary innovator—considered by some to be a little edgy.
Left his father's farm at 18 and took up fine art printmaking. Educated in state universities in Washington and California, at 25 he was hired to teach fine art printmaking at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Seeing Seattle becoming a high-tech center, he challenged students to expand hand printing and incorporate new technologies for art, design, and education - thus extending university-level printmaking beyond academe. The 219 tapes in the Ritchie Video Archive documents this.
For Bill's curricular integration of printmaking, video and computer art, the university supported his research for nineteen years and his curriculum proposal was validated globally. Additionally he served as adjunct at The Evergreen State University, University of Oregon, Highline and Shoreline Community Colleges.
Throughout 50 years he exhibited in art exhibitions in 280 traditional visual arts, solo and group shows and electronic arts, installations and performance. His visual art and design works were collected by 582 individuals and 61 public and corporate collections.
For his visual arts, teaching, research and design he won 74 awards, fellowships, grants and prizes. For professional development of teaching, research and production he undertook 59 projects worldwide.
He provided for 109 events in public speaking, consulting and workshops on printmaking techniques and history, new technologies and cultural arts entrepreneurship, many with other artists and designers to develop art installations, computer-aided business models and design.
Although former students' career achievements suggested that exposure to multimedia technologies aided in art and teaching, Professor Ritchie's new curriculum proposals were rejected by the art department chairman, who then removed Bill from the printmaking division. Thus rejected, Bill resigned in 1985 and started his own studio for teaching, research, practice and services.
Bill produced over 200 short videos for sharing on YouTube and Vimeo on subjects ranging from printmaking techniques utilizing his printing press designs to personal musings on art education, research, northwest art history and storytelling.
He writes essays, fiction and screenplays for elucidation and pleasure, but is also included in books by others, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, radio interviews and TV features. He self-published 37 books ranging from pure speculation to entertainment, allegory and biography.
In 2004 he began designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling Halfwood etching presses and printmaking toys to popularize fine art printmaking and games for learning.
In 2008 he and his wife opened the Mini Art Gallery for a permanent work and display space where he hopes to facilitate Northwest Print Center Incubators using the family's accumulated assets and intellectual properties.