Clinton Native and Globally Recognized Artist Returns for Art ExhibitionFebruary 15, 2023
Clinton High School is hosting a Public Exhibition honoring Black History and featuring artist Albert “Vision” Williams. The works will be on display until February 28 in the library. The public exhibit is open to the public, students and school staff during school hours, Monday through Friday, 7:50 am to 3:30 pm and during the artist talk.
On February 23, Albert Williams will “come home” to Clinton. Williams will be present for a meet and greet and to engage in his artist talk from 5 pm – 8 pm. At this time, the community is welcome to view the artwork and enjoy music and light refreshments.
So, who is this local artist making his mark globally?
Albert Williams was born on May 11 (Bailey Hospital) in Clinton, South Carolina, to Albert Sturkey and Sherry Ann Williams. He is the second of four children and was reared in the home of his maternal Great-Grandmother, Katherine Metts Williams, where he first learned the dialect and culture of the coastal Southeast (AAVE).
An M.S. Bailey Elementary School student in Ms. Patterson’s first-grade class, his interest in art was nurtured, but it came about unusually. Williams was a very communicative child, and when too chatty in class, he was placed in the back of the classroom with paper and crayons. Instead of using paper, he created a masterpiece on the floor. This led to a three-day suspension from school but a lifetime of creating art in unconventional places.
Williams first realized that he was interested in art when his Late Grandmother, Hazel Sturkey, introduced him to his late Uncle Timothy Morse Sturkey’s drawings. The first drawing that he remembers seeing was one of a royal black family in Egypt. Since that day, his love for art has been extraordinary and close to his heart.
The only art class he ever took was Art 1 at Clinton High School, where Ms. Browning was the teacher in 2003. Browning inspired him, and the rest, they say, is history.
Williams graduated from Clinton High in 2004 and continued to use art as his form of expression. His artwork is heavily influenced by his West African and Indigenous Cherokee heritage, with vividly colored paintings and prints capturing the native wear of different tribes.
“I am a historian by nature and have had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria, Ghana, Dubai, Germany, Portugal, Italy, and Spain,” said Williams. “This global influence is evident in my artwork.”
A Timeline and Sampling of his Work:
In 2005, Williams designed props for a Christmas Broadway-type production for Antioch AME Church in Clinton, South Carolina. The props were created to have a life of their own and feel like part of the original design of the building. In 2007 he returned to create accessories for the same body of people at Antioch A.M.E. Church for a different program.
In 2010, Williams created a 300-foot wall used in an Easter play in Columbia, South Carolina. The wall consisted of paintings, 3d items, and lights.
In 2015, Williams designed a 100-foot mural for the entrance of a local store in Charleston, South Carolina. The painting was created with the community in mind after the recent church shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church.
In June 2019, Williams was Creative Director for the Pre-Game Block Party art wall for the Washington Mystics (Washington DC’s Professional Women’s basketball team). An average of 600 people attended this event. That same year he restored the old call boxes on Martin Luther King Avenue in Southeast Washington DC.
The year 2020 was a pivotal year for many, and that includes Albert Williams.
On May 25, 2020, the world watched as Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin publicly murdered George Floyd. People took to the streets of their local cities and other countries in outrage. This outrage was also evident in Washington, D.C., the Capital of the United States of America. Living in Washington, DC, Williams witnessed so many emotions play out, like watching a movie while in the recording stages. He felt emotionally exasperated.
The following day while on his daily bike ride, Williams saw hate written all over the makeshift walls surrounding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Building. It was then that he realized he could create a message of his own that is not filled with hate but conveys a message of unity. He saw those walls as his canvas. WIlliams rode his bike back home at the speed of light, packed his car with art supplies, and rushed back to Lafayette Square.
“I looked around at my environment, police, people shouting, snipers on the roof of the White House, and objects flying in the air from both sides of the line,” said Williams. “To say that I was scared is an understatement. But I began to create.”
The Black boy wearing the American flag marked 1492 with the teardrop of the world was the first of four pieces created; people from both sides of the argument started to watch him as he worked, and it was at that moment that Williams knew that he was using his gift to inspire. He returned nightly until the other three pieces were finished. The primary message is that every culture is essential and that it is 100% unnecessary to believe that one culture is better than another just because they are different. What is important is that we hold to our cultures, which are deeply rooted in family, community, love, and food. In the middle of violence and chaos, Williams created art that resonated with many and changed the narrative for some.
The most extensive library globally noticed Williams’ works; some of his art can now be found in The Library of Congress, the MLK Public Library Foundation, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Williams is a creative director, painter, creative writer, and leader in the Optics and photonics community. He leads a team of professionals as they develop connections for the future of the world of photonics. He is also the owner of Vision3154. He goes by the artist name “Vision” because his dreams often inspire his creations.
The kid who grew up in Clinton, South Carolina, is making his mark worldwide.
His work has educated, inspired, and challenged others for 25 years. Williams aims to empower the world to preserve each culture’s history through art, fashion, and literature.
If you are interested in his artwork, you can reach him via the following handles:
- Instagram (@Vision3154)
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone/text: +1.202.329.3154
- Online store: https://vision3154.myspreadshop.com/
“One day, we will all be a memory. It is up to us to determine what that memory will be,” said Williams. “Similar to ancient times, we must leave our mark.”
Be sure to get by the exhibit at Clinton High School to see the work of Albert “Vision” Williams. There is power in his vision and messages of unity and understanding.
Click on the images in the photo gallery to see more of his work.