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Art & Life with John Williams

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Williams.

John, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Art has been part of my life since age four when I started modeling elaborate creatures out of clay and evolving into my current work creating complex cut paper collage portraits and landscapes. As an autistic artist, I see my work as a metaphor for my daily life. The world for me is a chaotic place. Thoughts and images swirl around endlessly in my head. Art allows me to channel my energy, organizing hundreds of small pieces of cut paper to create a unique and coherent image. Much of my work is historical. By marrying my artistic vision with my passion for history, I seek to present a fresh perspective on my subjects. Their eyes are the focus of my work, usually looking directly at the viewer, something that is difficult for me to do in real life. Through exploring the emotions I imagine my subjects felt, I get more in touch with my own.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I create unique collage portraits and landscapes, using small pieces of cut magazine paper. Most of my work is portraiture, focused on historical figures, from ancient times (“Cleopatra”) to modern figures (“Obama”). Each subject is highly researched so I can understand the person’s story and historical context. My goal is to depict all aspects of the subject — their internal character as well as their external features. I try to show how they may have felt. A good example is “The Last Czar”: Nicholas II was a reluctant czar, insecure and unhappy in the role. In my work his face is shaded, his eyes averted and his uniform so big it appears as a facade.

In the background of many of these portraits, I include vignettes reflecting their historical context. My objective is to teach the viewer about not only the person but his times. Each one is a mini history lesson. I have a large military history portfolio. I use my art to learn about areas that intrigue or confound me. For example, I have created a number of portraits of Middle Eastern leaders (the Shah of Iran, Sadat, Nasser) as a way of trying to understand the history that has led us to the current situation in that region. I hope they are thought-provoking. On the lighter side, I also create calming landscapes and floral designs.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
All of my work is displayed on my website. It is also exhibited in juried shows around the country. Work is in a permanent exhibit at the Lurie Center for Autism in Lexington, MA and also at the Asperger’s/Autism Network office gallery in Watertown, MA. Each summer, I host a solo show for two weeks in Provincetown, MA at Gallery444. Information on all exhibits is listed on my website.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @johnmwilliamsfineart
  • Facebook: John M. Williams Fine Art
  • Twitter: @JMWFineArt

Image Credit:
Marcy Stuart/Daniel Saccardo

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  1. Pat Mahon

    December 7, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Your artwork is unique and fabulous, John! Wonderful article / interview about your artwork. Congratulations on your successes! Pat Mahon

    • John Williams

      December 11, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you, Pat. I’m so glad you enjoy my work.

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