Article from Daily Sun
“To me, the more senses you can bring into experiencing the art the better,” he said.
This applies to many entrants in the “It’s Elemental” exhibition and sale, now entering its 15th year, during which viewers are challenged to immerse themselves in natural elements of wood, fiber, glass, clay and metal.
With the jury inundated with more than 200 submissions and 60 selected, the show has even more to offer.
“The response we got in terms of entries is the largest we’ve seen in almost five years. In my opinion that makes for a stronger show,” said John Tannous, Flagstaff Arts Council Executive Director.
A members’ preview takes place at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Road, Friday, Nov. 13 from 6- 8 p.m. A free public reception follows Saturday, Nov. 14 from 6-8 p.m. The exhibit runs through Dec. 19.
The Fine Craft Sale accompanies the exhibition Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 6 from noon-4 p.m. For more information, visit www.flagartscouncil.org.
Happy accidentsFor Williams, compelling sensory experiences have propelled his work over the years, and a series of happy accidents, he said. Especially with one of his top-selling items: bells. Thanks to the profile cut in the bottom, one can not only hear the charming tones, but reach out and feel sonic vibrations pulsing from these very popular metal sculptures.
“You can feel it, you can hear it … One of the happy accidents was the profiles cut in the bottom of the bells. When I originally did it I liked the visual effect," he said. "A lot of people made bells, and these cuts made mine different by changing the profile and the sound.”
From this slight aesthetic alteration, Williams realized there was a more profound impact as well. These principles, he said, are constant reminders for him to keep pushing ever forward.
The artist’s journey into metal artwork began when he and his wife “escaped” southern California, trading bustle for the leisurely pace of Williams. He laughed at the novelty of sharing a name with the town where he operates The Gallery with his wife and two other partners — and the fact he never wanted to own a gallery.
Setting up the space while it opened in 2011 took him away from working creatively, but in that same year, he entered the Artists’ Coalition of Flagstaff’s “Recycled Art” exhibition and won the Elegance Award.
“Every show I’ve been in so far I’ve won some sort of award, that’s about four different shows,” Williams said. Last year, his work took “Best in Show” at “It’s Elemental.”
Finding passionMost of his artwork is made to appeal to the greater public and sell, like his hand-forged bells and drums. But when he enters an exhibition, he prefers to tackles his true passion: impact pieces.
In college, Williams worked on structural welding, always jealous of the artists across the hall forging delicate-looking roses.
“I was there in heavy leathers in the middle of summer in 100-degree heat with sparks falling on me from overhead. Set myself on fire once,” Williams said. “And they were having fun. I wanted to do that, but felt the path to making a living doing that was in a different way — and I was wrong.”
Williams’ artistic discoveries lead to incredible innovation. Pipe caps he welded together and smashed for a rocky texture make up the rocks in one piece.
“The big secret though: Rock balancing is really easy, especially if you weld the pieces together,” he added.
The detail and involved nature of his work, especially with ravens like the ones he forged for “It’s Elemental.” Williams works in assembly line fashion, slicing feathers with his plasma cutter, shaping bird bodies at the same time — though it took about a day a piece.
Each raven is made of 2,000 feathers — the primary feathers, flight and secondary all coming from digital scans or drawings. His in-depth approach involves hundreds of hours, months of research before finally sitting down to form one of these intricate creatures.
Williams explained each one of these happy accidents, from experimenting with new material to the trial-and-error process that comes with being and working as an artist has been one step in his journey.
“As soon as I stop getting better then it’s time for me to find something else for me to do,” he said. “And my work is improving.”
Features editor Seth Muller can be reached at (928) 913-8668 or firstname.lastname@example.org