Juror’s Choice winner Laura Williams is a woman of many talents. She holds a B.F.A in painting from the University of Vermont, and has worked as a gourmet cookie decorator, a diorama and prop builder, and as a sculptor for a costume company where she made “hats for elephants, belt buckles for lion tamers, and many other incredibly silly things.” Now working as a part-time graphic designer for Algonquin Books, as well as an illustrator, and fabric designer; Williams incorporates her illustrations, photography, and graphic design work into her fabric patterns. “Photography has been there since the beginning. It is a huge influence. It is an essential part of the foundation of my visual language, as much as painting is.” Though her photography, painting, and graphic design aesthetics are each different, Williams’ ideas all come from the same place, “A mark looks different in graphite, paint, or pixels, or light, but the making of the mark comes from the same emotional content.”
Juror's Choice: N 35º 55’ 4”/W79º 3’ 46”
Williams’ winning image, N 35º 55’ 4”/W79º 3’ 46” is part of a new series that began as a means of investigating natural objects and their shape and gesture and how they might be incorporated into her patterns. She quickly realized that the photographs worked best on their own. Though the images appear to have been photographed underwater, in reality they are made up of different layers of objects and glass. Williams’ interest lies in what she calls “creative accidents” and the meaning that can come out of a seemingly random situation.
Though she identifies herself as an artist, Williams does not worry about where she might fit in with the rest of the art world.
I know I am a visual artist who makes a living communicating and connecting with other human beings using visual images. I would hope that I am able to be articulate enough to be a part of a global creative conversation and to be able to collaborate with other artists across cultural boundaries. I believe that art is a place where we can connect to each other and share what we have in common and also what makes us different.
From making hats for elephants and now wearing many hats herself, Williams’ artistic career has made her incredible versatile and successful. “Success might be having the ability to banish fear […] from the creative process. I think success for me is about communicating with other people. It is about successfully transferring emotional energy through a visual image and about the impact that energy has on another person.”
Botanicals is on view through October 26, 2013.