Wade H Williams, Artist at Large, is my guest blogger today. I first became aware of his work when local Durham NC artists decorated downtown with masses of colorful murals and paintings. I approached Mr. Williams to participate in my Five Questions Series, and I was delighted when he said Yes!
Although my Five Questions Series mostly features writers, artists of all kinds can learn from successful artists in other media.
Wade H Williams: When did you first know you would become a painter?
I developed an interest in art at an early age when I began to explore and express myself through drawing and painting. I remember watching my mother, an elementary school teacher, create and decorate bulletin boards. Even then, although I was only nine years old, I wanted to help her and she gladly consented. As time passed, several of her colleagues complimented her on the bulletin boards. When she told them that I had assisted her, they asked if I wanted to help them with their bulletin boards. Of course I said Yes. And they even paid me.
A few years later, I was browsing through a magazine and saw an advertisement for a “draw me” talent test. I took the test and passed with flying colors. And soon thereafter I was offered courses in drawing and painting from the Art Institution, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn. I took the courses, learned a lot and enjoyed them immensely. I continued my art education selecting architectural drafting and various other art classes while in high school.
After high school I attended St. Augustine’s University. I graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts. I attended The Art Students League of New York, where I continued my study of drawing and painting.
In 1982 I started my business, Wade H. William Artist At Large.
Wade H Williams: How have you developed as a painter?
Studying art history for many years, I have learned and experimented with many different styles and techniques. Thus, I have developed my own personal artistic style through which I express my thoughts and ideas.
Discussions with other artists on various topics and viewing their artwork introduces me to new and fresh concepts that facilitate my development as a painter.
Remaining focused, strict discipline, always striving for excellence and never settling for “status quo” have also contributed to my artistic development.
Creating paintings that are thought provoking and capture the interest of the viewer are of utmost importance to me as I continue my development on this artistic journey.
Wade H Williams: Who or what are your influences?
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the old masters, is the first artist who captured my attention when I was quite young. I studied his techniques of painting very closely. One of techniques I observed was how he initially used an under painting before he began to apply his colors. I have adopted this technique and continue to use it.
Other old masters for whom I developed an affinity are Albrecht Dürer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt and El Greco. As I began to look more in depth at the works of the French Impressionists. Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh helped me to more clearly understand the effect of light and the emphatic vibrancy of color. I have been able to incorporate a free spirit of painting and expression in my art work through observation and study of the many works of Pablo Picasso.
I have taken inspiration from the so-called modern storytellers Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Archibald Motley, Jr. They enlightened and educated me about the Black Renaissance in Harlem, New York during the 1970’s and 1980’s. They were able to effectively present and exhibit their expressions of black identity. I, as a black man and member of the black community, will continue to let the black community speak through my art.
Wade H Williams: Choose one of your images and analyze it.
The letters of “Black Lives Matter” are written in white representing the Europeans who migrated to this country.
The colors of the American Flag are seen in the background. The blue portrays the police and the blue wall of silence.
The red represents the blood of the African Diaspora.
Lady Justice, aka Ma’at, is of Egyptian (Kemet) origin. The blindfold she is wearing exemplifies impartiality and objectivity. Her dress is black and white, the colors of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. She personifies truth, justice, harmony, balance and order. She holds a double edge sword in her right hand, which is symbolic of power, protection, authority vigilance and might. The scales of justice – with the words “no justice” on one side and the words “no peace” on the other side – represent reaching a fair and equitable balance for all as issues are addressed and resolved.
The black skyline of Durham, N.C. in the background represents all black and brown communities of the Bull City.
Wade H Williams: You’ve had a long career. What can you tell a young artist who might just be starting out about how to create a lasting career?
Continue to study and learn all you can about the history of art. Learn how and when to use all the tools of your trade. Take time to develop your art skills. Continue to maintain your creative freedom while gaining artistic satisfaction. Don’t fear failure and no matter what anyone else says or does, remain persistent and focused. Set realistic goals, keeping in mind that responsibility, accountability and time management are of utmost importance. As you become more “seasoned” and experienced, begin to formulate an art career financial business plan.
Always remember that in order to be successful, you must remain committed, disciplined and tenacious.
Thank You, Wade H. Williams, for letting us get to know your work! For more visit him at: Wade H Williams, Artist at Large
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen