Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Wonder: Crayon Artist Herb Williams

It's not everyday you run across a classically trained sculptor who has a personal account with crayon-maker Crayola but when you use as many crayons as artist Herb Williams, having a direct connection to a supplier is a must.* 

Born in Alabama in 1973 and now a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, Williams uses crayons to create extraordinary sculptures and public installations, which have been on view in museums, hospitals, and even the White House. The internationally known and award-winning artist's work is found in Crayola's own private art collection, as well as the collection of the Tennessee State Museum and the Green Art Trust in Dallas, Texas. It has been featured in WIRED magazine and other periodicals, on CBS (2008 video) and NPR, and on numerous blogs. 

One of Williams's recent and impressive works is Unwanted Visitor, Portrait of Wildfire, an outdoor installation designed to educate the public about the causes of wildfire, wildfire's consequences for the environment and humans, and prevention. The artwork, which was displayed last October, November, and December at the National Ranching Heritage Center, Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas, comprises five free-standing, 3-dimensional, flame-shaped sculptures, each crafted with 60,000-70,000 Crayola crayons and several standing as high as 8 feet. The material used melts and changes shape, depending on weather conditions.

Herb Williams, Unwanted Visitor, Portrait of Wildfire
Installation View, National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock, Texas
Photo Credit: Ashton Thornhill

Additional images of Unwanted Visitor may be seen here. Also see the FaceBook link below. Funding for the installation came through a Kickstarter campaign, described here, and a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

The Nashville Arts magazine, which featured Williams in this informative article, also filmed the artist in his studio, where we're shown the tools Williams uses and have an opportunity to see how he makes his fabulous art (the video is just over 9 minutes):

In this 5-minute video, Williams shows and describes some other, much smaller artworks. Images of a selection of five crayon sculptures, including a bull's head, a dress, and a rabbit, are here. Also see the image gallery on Williams's Website.

* The crayons come 3,000 to a 50-pound case, individually packed in the color desired. Some of Williams's sculptures require hundreds of thousands of crayons; for Plunderland (2009), for example, Williams used a quarter-of-a-million crayons.

Herb Williams on FaceBook, Flickr, and Twitter

Unwanted Visitor, Portrait of Wildfire on FaceBook


S. Etole said...

You share some of the most fascinating things.

Anonymous said...

"gateway drug" that's phunny.

Joyce Wycoff said...

what a celebration of creativity.