Middle age and an unfinished basement were the ingredients that finally inspired me to fulfill my lifelong desire to be a practicing artist; despite the fact creativity has always been a part of my life. Throughout my childhood there was little doubt my future would reflect my talent for drawing and painting, but for years I remained unfocused and in doubt, jumping from periods of time enrolled in art classes to spans of time just working for the sake of simply earning a living. One day though, in a moment of clarity, I found myself making preparations to attend The Corcoran School of Art in nearby Washington, D.C., and four years later, in 1989, I had earned myself a BFA in graphic design. By that time though, I was in my early thirties and deeply entrenched in family and adult responsibility. Many years have passed since then, but the artist within me has never died, and today, at long last, I use the space in my basement as my studio, and divide my time between work, family, and abstract painting.
The art I am creating involves expanding on a method I discovered, perhaps even invented, while in school. The result is purely abstract and the process unconventional; and deals with the addition and subtraction of layers of acrylic paint mediums. My goal is to push my materials as far as they will go, and in fact, I see each new work of art as an experiment in materials and process. With each new painting a discovery is often made which can become the starting point for the next. The tools I use are also unconventional: finding them as frequently at the hardware store as at the artist's supply store, or perhaps even in a kitchen drawer. I also experiment with the mathematical proportion of my canvas stretchers, which I construct myself.
I find myself drawn to two artists for inspiration: Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock. At first glance, an unlikely pair, although Pollock has been described as the American van Gogh. Both were tortured geniuses and the creative forces of their times, but for me, both artists pushed their creative process to the point of changing the course of art as it was known to their contemporaries. I too seek to find a unique way of putting paint to canvas, and although I have started relatively late in life, today I make the most of every moment available to me to realize the artistic potential encoded in my very DNA.
John Grady Williams
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