Root canals paid the bills, and for many years Bill shared his clinical insights with Oregon Health Sciences University residents through his popular Mess of the Week course. But art and design have always been part of his life. From his meticulous illustrations in dental anatomy and endodontics textbooks, and his collaborative glass sculptures on exhibit in Oregon galleries, to logo designs for everything from fishing clubs to community restoration programs, his work spans the continent. His autodidactic approach to new technologies has resulted in a nuanced and intuitive appreciation of possibilities (e.g., The Grateful Read board on the We Wanted to Be Writers site). The Girsch-Olsen alliance, forged decades ago over seven cups of murky coffee in the former’s native Iowa, continues with mutual admiration and mighty mirth. When Bill was still an undergrad at the University of Northern Iowa, he painted a parody of the University president’s official portrait in a record-setting 3 minutes and 48 seconds. That painting is now on permanent display in the University’s Memorial Union—a testament to not only Bill’s artistry, but also his sense of humor. It’s a funny story. Ask him about it.
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