Antoine Williams: Animal Illustrations

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© williams

©  Antoine Williams

My practice is an investigation of my cultural identity through the exploration of power as it relates to social stratification. My desire is to create a variety of pieces that construct a mythology in which I question how low-income communities of color and their relation with other social classes affect perception and behavior. My work is heavily influenced by sci-fi literature, such as Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. I believe science fiction relates greatly to the Black experience in America. Therefore, I have created a world of deities in a number of different mediums that personify the complexity within hierarchies of power in everyday life.

These entities, which are hybrids of animal illustrations and my hand drawn figures from contemporary Black culture and found materials, are in the vein of the Dadaists, who appropriated and re-contextualized images from society in order to make “anti-art.” The deities are inspired by personal experiences from a rural, working-class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina, such as seeing childhood friends mutate into drug dealers then disappear into the streets. With a concern for both the public and the personal, I am creating a mythos for my hometown—a mythos in which these gods and goddesses are the personification of a psychology resulting from one’s particular placement within the social order.

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Antoine Williams’ mixed media installations and paintings are an investigation of his cultural identity through the exploration of socioeconomic themes. Heavily influenced by science fiction, hip hop, and his rural working-class upbringing in Red Springs, North Carolina, Antoine has created his own mythology of hybrid creatures that exist between the boundaries of class and race. Antoine is an artist educator who received his BFA from UNC-Charlotte. Afterwards, he helped start a local art collective in Charlotte where he did a number community-based art projects such as after school programs, rap concerts, murals and pop up art shows. In 2014, Antoine received his MFA from UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, he lives in Chapel Hill, NC where he continues his studio practice while teaching painting, drawing, and art history.

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