William Cross


William Cross was born in the small town of Erwin, Tennessee nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee in 1957.  Early in the 20th century the townspeople of Erwin hanged a circus elephant named Mary from a railroad crane.  William Cross and Mary the elephant are the only two things for which Erwin has been known.

Cross’s father was a hard-core Hell’s Angel and put William off his motorcycle and out on his own when he was 17.  William is quite a wild mountaineer that lives in the mountains of Green County, Tennessee.  He indicates that he is a Tennessee mountain man who “lives off of the fat of the land just as Crockett and Boone”.   His passions are carving and playing the banjo.  He has been carving for over 20 years, but only a few years ago found his niche in stone.  Cross’s works have been discovered and are being sought by folk art collectors through out the country.  He has had no training.  When asked about his works, Cross says “I just see those things and I just gets crazy until I get it carved in stone, then it takes me 15 or 16 hours to carve it with my knife and chisel in my workshop outback.”

Cross’s carvings are exceptionally well executed and have a good sense of design for a self-taught artist.  His subject matter is usually religious themes or the female nude with an occasional diversion into something clearly imaginary.

 William Gregory Cash also known by his artist name, William Cross, passed away after a short battle with lung cancer Saturday, April 11, 2015