Reggie: Reaching Goals as a Full-time Artist

“Galactic Donut” by Reggie Williams

Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I’m a 28 year old painter who specializes in contemporary art. I always drew as a child, but I started painting in late 2013. Before then, I hadn’t painted anything since my freshman year of high school and didn’t like it at all. So, I began to use other mediums of art instead of trying to pursue a career in another field. After high school I began working different jobs and letting the artist side of me suffer just to pay bills. In 2012, I was completely done with art and was trying to settle down to start a family, but things didn’t work out. Because of that, I got back into art. There was a paint set that someone had bought me and I began to paint with it. It wasn’t my best work but it was my best creativity wise – beginner’s luck you can say. I sold a few pieces here and there so I started taking it seriously. I’m very goal-oriented and want to master whatever craft I’m doing at that time. I wasn’t working at the time except for tattooing out of house, therefore I started painting everyday. Earlier this year, I was working as an apprentice under a guy named Jake. While tattooing under him, I painted at the shop as well just to past the time, but this man would be very blunt with you about your work and how it needed to be improved. I would want to say that because of him my artistry has opened up and changed, and I thank him for that. Once I left the shop, I started getting more and more commissions. Now, I’m a full time painter and commission artist. My goal is to become a muralist for the state of Tennessee.

“Humanity” by Reggie Williams

What is your biggest obstacle as an artist? What is your biggest success?
The biggest obstacle with pursuing art is not believing in your own talent. For years, I would bash my own work because I didn’t believe in. I didn’t have a lot of supporters, especially from friends and family, so I didn’t believe in the artist anymore. You are your own biggest critic and I gave myself hell. But then, I learned quick that people support confident artists; I met a guy at an art show that told me, “As a collector, I have to believe in the artist in order to believe in the art. If you don’t believe in your own talent, especially as a black artist, then how do you expect me to collect your art? I don’t want to start a collection from an artist who decides to give it up one day. God blessed you to create with your mind and your hands. You were created to create.” Since that very day, I believe in every piece of art that I do as well as myself as a person.
The biggest success is to just create from your heart. Who cares if this person doesn’t understand or like it. You are giving people a window to your imagination, so lay it all out there, ya know? Hold on to your dream and never give it up. Art has no rules, so be free with it. You’re your own biggest critic. If you create from the soul, there’s no way that you can fail. Trust in God and he won’t let you fall flat on your face.

What inspires your work?
What inspires me is the world around me. Just a nice sunny day at the park or walking some trails would bring you inspiration. Inspiration is all around you, but you have to put down your phone to see it and appreciate it. God created artists to be demigods. You can’t waste your gift. The next time you pass that beautiful rose growing up the wall, stop and appreciate the art.

“Trouble Man” and “Natural Color” by Reggie Williams

Are there any specific artists that inspire you?
The artists that inspire me the most are Miya Bailey, Henrik Uldalen, Tyrone “Red” Cooley, Corey Davis, JerkFace, and Rachael Prittchet. I follow all of these artists on Instagram and their art blows me away. Each artist has their own unique style, and I plan on collecting art from each one of these artists.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
If I could give advice to a young artist, it is to get out and travel. I wish someone told me this when I first started taking art serious, but travel. You know the art scene in your own backyard but what about in another state, ya know what I’m saying? Meet other artists and see other styles out there because if you don’t, then you’ll never progress. Don’t waste God’s gift.

“Wu-Field” by Reggie Williams

Keep up with Reggie!
Facebook: Reggie Williams
Twitter: @artbyreggie901
Instagram: @reggiewilliamsjr

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