Jan Williams

Born 1958, New Zealand

Lives in: Brisbane, Australia

The artist at work

"My art is like a drug, I create art because I need to create art. My favourite artists are works by Mailloil, Giacometti, Brancusi and...... Paleolithic art."

What themes does your work involve?
"Most of my art is figurative and since about 2010 has focused on large body forms. A fairly large proportion of the population where I live, is overweight, so in a politically incorrect way (not derogatively) I like to use their their formal qualities, creating personalities and using them in a language portraying a variety of ideas, explained in their titles..Their titles are important, like 'Night', 'Black weather', Life at the cafe' 'Symphonic etc..."
Describe your creative process.
My initial inspiration can come from looking and working from other artists ideas, or just observing life on public transport for example. The thought process is usually quite slow, turning over in my head for a long time. Once I've begun modelling in plastercine, the process is still slow, changing, sometimes restarting and fine tuning forever. Eventually I consider it complete, and mostly it will still be based on the origional idea. The plastercine piece will be plaster waste molded. A mix of polyester-fibreglass mixed with powdered iron is then painted into the mold. When finished, it will be soaked in salty water until a rust patina is established, then dried and sealed. Earlier work is made with just a simple pigmented polyester fibreglass mix.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I became an artist naturally, because most of my family are artists or otherwise connected to the visual arts. I'm inspired by the people who live around me. Actually, I'm inspired by all sorts of things from the natural and human world, anything that can be expressed using the human body format.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
What is great art is indeed difficult to define. Great art can be intriguing, smart, inventive, dynamic or introverted...I don't know if I can define it, but I think I would recognize it without being told it is great art.
What is the role of the artist today?
I'm not really concerned with the role of the artist today, I create my art for myself only.
Women wearing an iron hat - Iron-polyester-fibreglass, wood 60 x 33 x 33cm
Iron lady 5 - Iron, polyester-fibreglass 38 x 20 x 20 cm
Iron lady 4 - Iron, polyester-fibreglass 40 x 20 x 20 cm
Iron lady 3 - Polyester-iron-fibreglass 40 x 15 x 15 cm
Coffee table sculpture 2 - Coffee, polyester-fibreglass 42 x 18 x 18 cm
Wide poet  - Iron, polyester-fibreglass 43 x 50 x 15 cm
Dark - Polyester-fibreglass 35 x 20 x 20 cm
Iron lady 2 - Polyester-iron-fibreglass 40 x 15 x 15 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist