Ernest Williamson’s paintings haunt. They invite us to stare into the face of our innermost selves, those sheltered recesses of the mind where disorder and creative imagination work in surprising tandem. Williamson’s work takes time to absorb as we weigh our response to these tortured faces behind bleeding lines of paint. Yet, the after image assuredly remains, haunting our optical nerves. To get a better idea of the inspiration behind these works, The Orris asked Williamson to share his thoughts on art and the creative process.
When did you realize you were an artist?
I’ve always been fascinated with visual art and poetics; however, I came to the realization that I was an artist at the age of nineteen. After a nervous breakdown, I began to create visual art at a feverish rate and interest in my work grew rapidly.
What inspires you?
Politics, nature, good and bad experiences, and the possibilities of creating something truly novel all inspire me. The works of Picasso and Dali still inspire me today and my creative efforts inspire me as well. The poetry of Robert Frost is not too bad either!
What is your artistic process like?
My unconscious mind frequently transfers experiences or snippets of information or images to my conscious mind and I feed off of that and create art. I work best when I have extended periods of time to work on my paintings, usually during the weekends.
You are both a poet and an artist, how do those mediums work together for you?
My poetic art is completely separate from my visual art in terms of process and in terms of style. When I write, I usually have to listen to Gregorian Chant and listen to my muse speak poetry to me and then I revise what I write. When I paint, I usually listen to classical piano or old R&B music for hours at a time.
What is the value of art?
The value of art is the value of life and the value of life is realizing that beauty, joy, sadness, ugliness all contribute to process and process at times can emit transcendental experiences. For me, God is the at the center of overt and covert realities and art can be experienced on a supernatural plane via delving into the metaphorical mimetic signs evinced in color, composition, relevancy, and memory.
What’s the state of the art world today?
The state of the art world is vibrant and evolving, though I would love to see a resurgence of figurative abstract artwork that involves the deconstruction of the human form.
You can find more of Ernest Williamson’s work on his website. Ernest Williamson is also an accomplished poet. Look for his poetry in Issue Four of The Orris, due out this November.