One of the only independent buyers in the world who maintains an account with Crayola, Herb Williams is a bit obsessed. Living and working in Nashville, TN, Williams uses tens of thousands of crayons to create his often life-size sculptures. Williams pursues both play and larger ideas; he is interested in identifying iconic objects that society perceives to fit one role, and then reintroducing them in a different subtext. Williams explores concepts such as childhood, sexuality, religion and social hierarchy all using crayons. Considering everything down to the smell (crayons of course) that his sculptures exude Williams works meticulously, cutting down crayons to the size he needs and individually bonding them to create his forms.
For a special project for the National Heritage Center, for example, Williams created an outdoor installation meant to raise awareness about wildfire. The installation consisted of three freestanding sculptures, which abstractly resembled fire that slowly melted in the Texas weather conditions. Created in vivid colors the installation provided a stark contrast to the dry, brown landscape and certainly was reminiscent of an actual wildfire. A unique way to draw attention to a serious problem, the installation remained standing from October through the end of the year.
A common enough material, Williams has managed to give crayons a wholly new purpose in art making. As he says, “my intent is to continue to seriously create art that looks at itself unseriously.” See more of his work and read about him on his website.