William Lumpkins (1909-2000) was born on a ranch near Clayton, New Mexico. His early life was dominated by hard work, and he received a sporadic early education. A childhood tutor taught him about Zen Buddhism, which made a lasting impact on his life and artwork.
In the late 1910’s, the family moved to Springville, Arizona. As an 8-year-old, Lumpkins caught sight of an artist passionately working in his studio and was inspired to follow the same path. In 1924 the family relocated again to Lincoln County, New Mexico. Lumpkins attended high school in Roswell. There he met artist Peter Hurd (1904-1984) and writer Paul Horgan, who would be influential artistic mentors.