Passion of the World with Pioneer Chaser, 2011, mixed media, 48 x 48 in.
How to be Blessed by an Elephant in India, 2011, mixed media, 36 x 36 in.
Taxicab Situation with Counterfeit Resolution, 2011, mixed media, 48 x 48 in.
Pound, 2011, mixed media
Peace Offering, 2011, mixed media
Banco Central de Cuba, 2011, mixed media on mahogany, 36 x 36 in.
Exploration of Becoming, 2011, mixed media, 48 x48 in.
Freedom, 2011, mixed media
About Steve Williams
Steve Williams grew up with his family owning and operating a electrical sign manufacturing company in Jacksonville, Florida. He focused his artistic inclination into a graphic design degree, which led him to a ten-year stint, working with his family, selling and designing signs and environmental graphics.
During his tenure with the family business he found that he could no longer find fulfillment within the parameters of applied design. Williams began pursuing the drawing, painting and sculpture that he had started during his college days.
Williams decided to begin working towards a career in fine arts. As he worked, he took long, thoughtful looks at himself and his work. He realized that his intent and passion still gravitated toward signs. These creations, which he thought, were meaningless were actually very meaningful symbols, explaining his existence, directing his soul on its journey through life.
“I find myself being led to act as a storyteller creating a visual vocabulary with these signs and symbols providing a narrative through my paintings of some meaningful, enigmatic language that is common to all even though it is obscure, Williams confers.”
“This journey has brought me to a very interesting point in my work. I find myself obsessed with symbols and signs. The subjects set in motion a series of attitudes that we as human beings find to be inseparable, universal components of our existence”.
“In my paintings these forms find a place along with other symbols whose meanings are more obscure in a matrix of compelling color and texture. My desire is to draw the viewer in with color, texture and other decorative elements giving him place to linger, investigating and questioning his position in life, possibly finding validation amidst the signs”.
These days, one can find Williams going back and forth between painting and the family’s sign business. The combination is an inspiring mix, one which becomes evident as the body of work develops.
There are so many names for money.
Dough. Green. Ace. Cake. Bread. Cabbage. Spread. Bucks. Legal Tender.
Money tells our collective story. It gives us snapshots of ourselves; where we originated and how we became who we are now. Money gives us feelings of security, fear, love, safety, happiness, accomplishment and inspiration. It gives us our competitive spirit.
But at first glance, American currency seems lackluster, pedestrian. It’s so simple; dull green with antiqued images of our solemn, unsmiling forefathers. I often wonder about the relationship between my common, nondescript name and the drab, staid bills of my homeland.
Then, in my travels, I find myself fascinated with the many beautiful foreign forms: unfamiliar names, shapes, colors, images, icons and references. I begin longing, emotionally wondering: should I be from somewhere else? Does this other money fit me better than those good, old American greenbacks?
Yet, when I return, I feel a new connection to The Green. My Green. Our Green. It looks exotic again; unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else. I realize that our money changes because America is still a frontier –we are still pioneers– and that’s where I begin.
With these works, I delve into an exploration of that familiar/exotic dichotomy. The history, the craft, the colors and iconography, even the act of counterfeiting, become relatable, mutable elements. By examining our money and comparing it to others around the world, I want to shed light on these complex relationships, and uncover the lies we tell ourselves, the money that we hide away, our reckless spending and destructive behaviors — all driven by the love of money.