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William Schaff

William J. Schaff Jr. is an artist and musician based in Warren, Rhode Island and Oakland, California. He is known for artwork for the bands Okkervil River, Songs: Ohia, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.[1]

Our Hands Have Been Used for Killing, My Lord by William Schaff. Scratchboard.



Much of Schaff's art deals with death and loss, as well as the consequences of, and responses to, human violence. Stories from the Old Testament and scenes from The Holocaust are recurrent in his art. Schaff works in paintings, drawings, collages, scratchboards, mail art, motion pictures, and comics.

A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Schaff has exhibited and lectured at numerous institutions, including the United States Air Force Academy, the Rhode Island School of Design, Amherst College, and East Carolina University.

Music-Related ArtEdit

Schaff is a prolific artist for musicians and is best known for producing all the art for the Jagjaguwar releases of Okkervil River. He was the subject of Pitchfork's "Take Cover" feature in 2009.[2] In 2012, a book of Schaff's artwork, featuring introductions by John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, and Darren Jackson of Kid Dakota, was published by Graveface Records. It includes a vinyl recording of previously unreleased songs by Jason Molina,

Art DiscographyEdit


Schaff led two acts as vocalist and songwriter, Reformation and Noel the Coward, and was part of the musical ensemble I Love You and I Miss You. He also played guitar and percussion with The Eyesores, The Iditarod, and Black Forest/Black Sea. Most recently, he was the drumming ape “Dead Chop Chop” in the What Cheer? Brigade.[3]

Fort ForeclosureEdit

Schaff lives and works in a house that was passed to him by his father, but does not own it outright and, due to unsteady income, has been unable to consistently make payments.[4] As a result, the house has been in foreclosure multiple times and has been nicknamed "Fort Foreclosure" by Schaff and its other residents.[5] In an attempt to raise funds to solve the problem more permanently, Schaff launched a partially successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign in March 2014.


  1. ^ "An electric turn with literary pop" (on Okkervil River albums), Elisabeth Donnelly, Globe Correspondent, The Boston Globe, Sep. 2007, states "Rhode Island artist William Schaff", webpage: BostonGlobe2007-09.
  2. ^ Breihan, Tom (December 3, 2009). "Take Cover: Will Schaff". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Murphy, Linda (December 18, 2008). "Water Street vibe draws artists". The Herald News. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Save William Shaff's home". Will Sheff. 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  5. ^ "saving fort foreclosure". William Schaff. 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.

External linksEdit