Hi, I'm Adam and I'm a ceramic artist. My parents are Gerard and Ann Williams, both are retired. My mom used to be a nurse and my dad was into plastic manufacturing.
I teach pottery, make sculptural work out of clay. Oh let me think, what else? I'll leave it at that. I do other things but I don't know if I should mention things like the fact that I sing although it never leaves the bathroom.
WHEN + WHERE?
I work out of my home and studio which is in Diego Martin. The best time of day for me to work is in the morning.
I've got a show this week. It's a Christmas sale, which I have every year. There was also a sale in June with Ajoupa Pottery. Very few people do pottery in Trinidad and Tobago, so you find that you get into bed with whoever does ceramics.
I have not had a gallery show since Alice Yard in September 2007. I've been hurting career-wise because I think artists should at least have a gallery display once a year. But these days, my plan is to avoid galleries. For my sculptural work, I'm not going to be using galleries if I can help it. I'm rethinking spaces at the moment and trying to use more public areas.
I got into ceramic art as a break from drawing and painting. I was a painting major when I was studying in Canada. The thing is, in terms of the hierarchy of the visual arts, painting is at the top. Whatever the case for arguing that video and installation art has an edge over painting, these are new mediums. And performance art is still an obscure thing to digest. Painting is where most of the money is; it's also very very macho and competitive. But being at the top, it's somewhat oblivious to a lot. I found it stifling and I was developing many hang-ups. You tend to develop too many snobberies or particularities to the point where what you're left with is a very limited avenue to work with. I found that my solution to that was to get out of it completely.
With clay, what I found was that I could return to the drawing board. I could return to a medium where there is no baggage. It was new for me. Oh, by the way I normally ramble...
PLEASE SAY SOMETHING DEEP (ABOUT ART):
Ok, I'll tailor this towards art and design. Each ceramic artist will lean a little towards one or the other.
In terms of the design aspect I'm what you describe as a small-scale producer or 'one of a kind' practitioner, and part of my philosophy as a one of a kind designer is the idea that I'm taking the time to take mundane consumable items and investing my creativity and intelligence into elevating those items. If I was making furniture you would not see a generic plastic lawn chair after lawn chair. It basically boils down to the experience of choosing to buy your clothes in the mall as opposed to buying from Meiling.
The experience of the one of a kind is profound. It was not always but in a consumable age it means a lot. I'm a bit of a purist or a traditionalist in that sense. It is elitist and it is expensive but I don't think it has to be like that, actually. You jump into your car and you drive for miles to Toco and there see houses with all sorts of things hanging up outside of them that you've never seen before in your life that are one of a kind; that are not things you'll find flipping through a Sears catalogue...they are making indigenous things. And this is something which I think is being lost more and more.
ASK AND ANSWER THE QUESTION YOU WANTED US TO ASK:
You'll have a long pause here... I wanted you to ask, 'What is your art about?'
What is my art about? It recently has gone through a very noticeable shift and I'm not sure about it yet. It's become extremely autobiographical in the last patch. It started when I was making a couple of pieces for my boyfriend and my parents where it was extremely clever work, but the audience was me and three other people; there was something exciting about that.
Do you know David Sedaris? Rufus Wainwright? I've been pulling from them as sources a lot. Sedaris is a writer who talks about his neighbours parents, siblings, incredibly insightful and comical. He's not talking about Obama and Bush; keeping it small. And all his writing is just like that. So recently my work's become very autobiographical. I'm toying with the idea of only making it accessible to very few people.
(BTW, WE SHOULD ALSO ADD:)
Adam Williams was born in Trinidad in 1982. He attended classes at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, and later the Creative Arts Centre at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. He also studied piano with Nancy Jackman and music theory with Graham Newling. He's got a Christmas sale on Saturday. This is what he looks like:
Adam Williams, 1989. Photo courtesy the artist.
Header photo: PriceSmart by Andre Bagoo
CHECK the artist's website for contact info here. GLIMPSE some of his smaller pieces here. READ more about an installation piece by Williams at Alice Yard here. This/discourse/has/no/start(middle)nd is an interview series for Trinidad artists. FIND out more about it here.