John Williams is a professional artist living in Winchester who creates complex collage portraits and landscapes using small pieces of cut magazine paper. John’s portraits include figures throughout history, depicting the character of the subject and a mini-history lesson of their times. He enjoys creating landscapes and floral images for fun. Williams, Winchester High School class of 2001, has done a number of solo exhibits in Florida, Washington, DC, Provincetown, and other New England venues. He was featured on the cover of the Folk Art Messenger, the revue published by the Folk Art Society of America, and on a book entitled Drawing Autism.
What connection, if any, do you still have to WHS or the community?
Living in the community gives me the opportunity to participate in local activities. I am a member of the Winchester Artist Network, participating in their local exhibits such as Art in August and selling my work at the Farmers’ Market. I have had several solo shows at the Winchester Library. For the past few years I have spoken at the Light It Up Blue celebration. BRIO Integrated Theater in Winchester has also sponsored workshops in town where people of all ages come to learn about my process and create their own collages.
Was there a favorite moment, person or experience at WHS that you remember that has helped you find your passions or reach your goals?
Recently, I have started doing speaking engagements focused on my artistic process and my experiences living with autism. When I was a student at WHS, I took a drama course with Judy Hession. It was my first exposure to public speaking and I realized it was not so terrifying. Now I am asked to speak to students in schools, to educational conferences, and to local civic groups. I am hoping to expand my range of opportunities.
What was the path you took to get where you are today?
After graduating from WHS, I attended Middlesex Community College and UMASS Lowell where I earned a bachelor’s in fine arts. Although I had trained as a sculptor, I decided to focus on my collage technique, utilizing my 3D talent and passion for history to create my own art genre.
Is there insight or advice you can share with current students?
I would tell students to follow their passions, nurture their interests to see where they may lead, even though the path may be circuitous. Don’t give up on your dreams.
Recently, John was featured in Boston Voyage. To read the article, go to: bostonvoyager.com/interview/art-life-john-williams/