Charles Williams is about to wrap up a summer affiliate residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. We can’t remember a time we’ve seen an artist take advantage of his time there in such an enthusiastic way; Charles has made connections with almost everyone in the art community over the past three months and we have to say, we’re quite impressed! Originally from coastal Georgetown, SC, Williams is a master of depicting fear and he does it through portraying his own response to an element of nature that is an unknown to him (the ocean) and his journey to conquer it (learning to swim). In each of the images you’ll see visions of what this experience looks like to the artist; the surface of the water painted slightly too high on the paper is overwhelming, and the artist’s face in a self portrait is only partially rendered as if to say his fears prevent him from fully knowing himself. Enjoy learning more about Charles and catch the last chance to see his work at McColl this Friday from 6-9.
HappeningsCLT: Describe yourself in three words.
Charles Williams: Passionate, caring, and driven
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
CW: I was working in advertising and graphic design, but my passion was my art. I talked to my father about making the leap of faith to paint full time, and he encouraged me. It was then that I decided this is who I am — there was no turning back.
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
CW: In general, life inspires me. People, music, movies, stories, and artists all inspire me and push me further toward success. My father, my mother, and my grandmother have been the biggest influences. Also, Mark Sloan, Eric Thomas, Kendrick Lamar, Jenny Saville, Chris Botti, Soulection radio, NPR, Andrew Wyeth,and spending time in museums.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work?
CW: My current body of work addresses the personal aspect of fear with regard to bodies of water – particularly the ocean. I’m showcasing the ocean in various forms, with a focus on its overwhelming power. I’m presenting my own psychological perspective, but I hope to invite the viewer to question his or her own fears and think about how they can be addressed or overcome.
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas right now?
CW: For both North and South Carolina, I’d say Soco Gallery, McColl Center, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Columbia Museum, CAM Raleigh, Nasher Museum at Duke, SECCA, and the North Carolina Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh.
HCLT: What is your number one art piece/place/event in this area?
CW: Art piece – Devin Leonardi “Figure at Dusk”; Event – McColl Open Studios; Place – SECCA South Eastern Contemporary Center – Winston Salem, NC
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now?
CW: “Same Kind of Different As Me.” It’s about a modern-day slave, and an international art dealer and a woman who brings them together.
HCLT: Best meal in the Charlotte area?
CW: Block and Grinder and Bad Daddy’s Burgers.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
CW: McColl Center for Art + Innovation – Charlotte, NC, Robert Lange Studios – Charleston SC and Morton Fine Art – Washington, DC
HCLT: What is up next?
CW: Fall – Morton Fine Art, Washington DC – Solo Exhibition
Fall – UNCG Greensboro, NC – MFA Graduate program
Winter – Morton Fine Art – Art Basel, Miami FL – Group Exhibition
Spring – Central Piedmont Community College, Sensoria keynote visual artist and speaker. Charlotte, NC – Solo Exhibition
Fall – Winthrop University – Rock Hill, SC – Solo Exhibition