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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 like Aesop's fables for the post-industrial era.

I like to play with surrealistic juxtapositions of animals in a man-made environment - either 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.

Sometimes I focus on times when human history clashed with natural history, such as in my Extinct Birds series, 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.

In other drawings, I imagine an alternate history where animals have taken the place of humans, like in my Explorers and 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.

Another one of my latest projects involves illustrating the "Fearsome Critters of the Lumberwoods" - fantastical fictional creatures conjured up by lumberjacks while they sat around their campfires. These Fearsome Critters were their way of explaining unknown sights and sounds in the vast forests of North America.

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:

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Teaching Experience




Columbus Open Studio and Stage Tour.

Magic Realism, at the German Village Society, Columbus, Ohio.

Ministers of the Kingdom, at the Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio.


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


Columbus Open Studio and Stage Tour. Curated by Amy Liebrand, Lisa McLymont, Stephanie Rond, and Catherine Bell Smith.

Monsters in America, at One Mile Gallery, Kingston, New York. Curated by Richard Saja.

The Renegade Craft Fair, in the Prime 8 Art League booth, Chicago, Illinois.


The Creature Show, at Don Drumm Studios, Akron, Ohio. Curated by Toni Billick.

The Renegade Craft Fair, in the Prime 8 Art League booth, Chicago, Illinois.


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.
Curated by Adam Brouillette and Meghan Kwast.

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

Impact-Influence, a CCAD CE faculty exhibition at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio.


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

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


Art for Life 2012 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. Curated by Paul Richmond.


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.


I Could Swear I Saw a Light, at the Ohio Art League Gallery, Columbus, Ohio. Curated by Jeff Sims.


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


Brian Williams & Paul Richmond: Recent Works, Worthington Municipal Building, Worthington, Ohio.
Curated by Catherine Sheridan, Worthington Arts Council.

Participated in staff art exhibition, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio.


Emerging Artists: A Collection, Legend Gallery, Zanesville, Ohio. Curated by Linda Regula.


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.


Oneiric, Senior Thesis Exhibition, Canzani Center Gallery, The Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio.

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

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