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Brian

Born and raised in Akron, Ohio - the rubber capital of the world - I currently live in Columbus, Ohio, where I work as an artist, graphic designer and college art instructor. I graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2003, where I studied Illustration, Fine Art and Art History, and where I now teach. I've also taken graduate-level courses studying art crime. I have given several classes and lectures on the subject.

I live with two cats named Jasper and Mugsy. They have a knack for finding weird things in my basement that I've never seen before.

Artist Statement

For my animal portrait drawings, I look for the humorous in the beautiful and the macabre in the cute. I draw inspiration from nature, history, animals, ghost stories, folklore, and old-fashioned photography. My drawings are Aesop's fables for the post-industrial era.

I like to play with surrealistic juxtapositions of animals in a man-made environment - sometimes posing as a person or replacing man-made technology - to illustrate the ways people and animals are similar but also to create unusual, humorous or vaguely unsettling images. In my Whaleplanes series, I replaced warplanes with dolphins and whales, trading inventions of destruction for a mythical pacifist alternate reality where peaceful ocean mammals float harmlessly above the landscape. In other drawings I focus on times when human history clashed with natural history, such as Extinct Birds, which shows birds that have gone extinct as a result of direct human interference. I depicted the birds dressed in clothing that was fashionable during the year that they went extinct as a way of visually connecting the animal's history with our own. The Dead Monarch Masquerade series shows assassinated rulers of extinct monarchies dressed as extinct mammals.

Daguerreosaurs reimagines a past where humans and dinosaurs coexist; I've drawn famous Americans from history posing with their dinosaur companions.

In other drawings, I envision an alternate universe where animals have taken the place of humans, like in my Explorers and The Gilded Age series. For The Gilded Age, I replaced the human subjects in the photos with animals as a way to illustrate character traits - such as fearful, enigmatic, mournful, dominant or pitiable - that we often also associate with animals. The animals in these drawings become visible manifestations of these traits underneath the domesticated "gilding" that humans have cultivated to mask their primal, animalistic nature.

Dodos auf der Flucht poetry book illustrations \ 03.2018

Vogel poetry book Vogel poetry book

Extinct Birds postcard collaboration \ 09.2014

Vogel postcard

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My Artwork in the Media

My artwork has been featured in a number of websites and magazines, including:

thumbnail Ernest Journal thumbnail thumbnail Ernest Journal thumbnail thumbnail cover thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail thumbnail

Teaching Experience

HNLA

Solo Shows

2018: Ministers of the Kingdom, at the Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio.
Magic Realism, at the German Village Society, Columbus, Ohio.

2014: Drawings, at the Bexley Public Library, Bexley, Ohio.

2013: Explorers, at the Explorers Club Restaurant, Columbus, Ohio.

2008: I Could Swear I Saw a Light, at the Ohio Art League Gallery, Columbus, Ohio.

2007: Drawings, in a business space in the Short North gallery district, Columbus, Ohio.

2003: Oneiric, Senior Thesis Exhibition, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio.

Group Shows

2019: Laluzapalooza: 33rd Annual Group Show, at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

2018: Columbus Open Studio and Stage Tour.

2017: Hit the Hop, at Studios on High Gallery, Columbus, Ohio.

2016: Columbus Open Studio and Stage Tour.
Monsters in America, at One Mile Gallery, Kingston, New York.
The Renegade Craft Fair, in the Prime 8 Art League booth, Chicago, Illinois.

2015: The Creature Show, at Don Drumm Studios, Akron, Ohio.
The Renegade Craft Fair, in the Prime 8 Art League booth, Chicago, Illinois.

2014: 3rd Annual Prime 8 Art League Event, at the Chop Shop, Chicago, Illinois.
Happy Together: A Wedding Exhibition, at the Cultural Arts Center, Columbus, Ohio.
Impact-Influence, a CCAD CE faculty exhibition at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio.

2013: RAW Cincinnati presents: Elevation, at Bogart's, Cincinnati, Ohio.

2012: Art for Life Auction for the AIDS Resource Center Ohio, hosted by the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio.
From A Different Flock, at the Ohio Art League Gallery, Columbus, Ohio.

2009: New Narratives: Paintings by Ohio Artists, at the Ohio Arts Council Riffe Gallery, Columbus, Ohio. Curated by Dominique H. Vasseur, European Curator at the Columbus Museum of Art.

2006: Brian Williams & Paul Richmond: Recent Works, Worthington Municipal Building, Worthington, Ohio.
Participated in staff art exhibition, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio.

2005: Emerging Artists: A Collection, Legend Gallery, Zanesville, Ohio.

2004: The Dreaming: Works by Katy Schepers and Brian Williams, in a business space in the Short North gallery district, Columbus, Ohio.
The Ohio Art League Fall Juried Exhibition, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio.

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work email: brianrwilliamsart@gmail.com
school email: bwilliams.1@ccad.edu

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