"At a young age, William Dole immersed himself in art, but had scant access to art and art books in his small home town. His interest in art intensified after a visit to the Chicago Art Institute in 1933, where he was stunned by their collection of European and American masters.
Dole enlisted in the Army during World War II, furthering his art education afterwards through the G.I.Bill at University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduation, he taught at UCB, transferring to UC Santa Barbara in 1949, where he was Chairman of the Art Department until the end of his life. Meanwhile, his social realist paintings and watercolors were exhibited widely.
During one of his sabbatical trips to Florence, Italy in the mid-1950s, Dole purchased a portfolio of odd papers which stimulated his exploration of collage as an aesthetic technique. By 1958, collage became his major medium of expression. Calligraphic fragments and typography vie with patches of color and graphic design to form compositions of discovery, exquisite detail and wit. "