Bill Myrick's artistic career began in the Bay area of California where he painted scenes on cars and motorcycles, earning him recognition in six major magazines. While traveling Bill fell in love with Maui and was inspired by the local artists who repeatedly drew him back to the island.
Eventually Bill moved to Maui and began his career as a local artist making candles, wreaths and night-lights created from the colorful local shells. Bill enjoyed this art form yet it seemed to lack the spark he was searching for.
One day, while diving in the clear waters of Maui, Bill saw a dark object slowly swimming up from the deep darker waters. Concerned and curious he waited is it approached, then Bill saw it was a "Honu", or Green Sea Turtle. As the creature swim up close it showed no fear of him, Bill saw that the turtle's face and neck were covered with large fleshy nodules.
Bill was deeply touched by their encounter and "felt the spirit" of the Honu. Later he learned that the Green Sea Turtle is under study for these tumors which eventually kill the affected Honu. Bill also studied the spiritual aspect of Hawaiian culture and how it involves the Honu.
Inspired by the encounter Bill wanted to "heal" the turtle and sat down to paint. He painted what he remembered of their meeting but without the tumors. "The painting came from my heart and not from my mind," says Bill. "It was the least amount of time I have ever spent on a painting. It just flowed from my brush." He named the painting Aumakua which means "ancestral spirit".
While the painting was on display he noticed a Japanese visitor bowing in front of his painting and asked what the man was doing. He was told that the visitor could feel the spirit in the painting and was showing respect.