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Daily Inspiration: Meet Faith Williams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Faith Williams. 

Hi Faith, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I have always identified as being an artist even at a really young age. I joke that the only thing that I got in trouble for in kindergarten was drawing on the tables. Making artwork has felt like something that I have always craved. I feel more complete when my ideas can be expressed through artwork, and there is a deeply satisfying level of enjoyment when something is finished or when an idea becomes reality through artwork. 

I studied studio art for my undergraduate BFA degree at the University of Denver, then completed a MA in Art Education there as well. I know it’s easy to stop being an artist, especially as a teacher, so I chose to join a co-op gallery shortly after graduating from college. Choosing to join a co-op helped to connect me to the Denver Art community, and gave me the motivation to continue to create and show my own artwork. It can be tricky to juggle both the world of art creating and teaching full time. 

I have always used drawing as a way to help me process what I am thinking and learning. And over the past couple years, I have found myself more curious about the world of environmental conservation. I grew up in Denver’s Capitol Hill, so my childhood was largely urban-focused. I didn’t really come to understand or appreciate nature until later as an adult. I worked for an experiential school traveling to national parks with students and also some fun odd jobs such as illustrating aquatic insects for a local flyfishing company. Many of these experiences helped to open my eyes to a world of nature that I just didn’t know growing up. I find the more I learn about something, the more I care about it. I like to use my artwork as a way of sharing newfound passion with viewers. Art can often be the catalyst for some really powerful conversations. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Deciding what type of artist I wanted to be was a more winding road for me. There are really so many different versions of being an artist or different types of audiences to focus on that it can be really challenging to decide. Do you want to be a mural artist, commercial artist, conceptual artist, an artist for marketing and branding, or an artist just for your own satisfaction? Is your art meant to be a financially lucrative business? Is it possible to be multiple of these types of artists at one time? Early in my career, I played with a variety of these things and said yes lots of opportunities. 

Building relationships with nonprofit organizations that align with the goals of my artwork, such as The Endangered Species Coalition, allowed me to expand how my artwork might lead viewers to political action. After I raise environmental issues and spark conversations about the artwork — then what? What steps can we take to seek the changes we want in this world? 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have been creating artwork about pollinator issues for the past couple years, and more recently, I set a goal to expand my understanding of environmental issues by connecting to current research. I wanted to move from learning about bees and books to learning about bees by seeing them in person. Through this pursuit, I have discovered really fun organizations such as Creature Conserve, who specifically promote direct engagement between scientists and artists. Their mini-grant program helped support making my summer research and observations possible, and their community of artists helped to show me how to pursue these kinds of options.

I spent 2 weeks shadowing scientists at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Summer 2021. I wanted to see more first-hand experiences of what it means to study pollinators and environmental issues. I assisted with a couple of research projects by catching bees and helping to track data. The word “scientist” felt so daunting before since this is definitely not an area where I have felt comfortable navigating. But scientists are just people, and they are excited to share the research they are completing. Research papers are genuinely important ways to document the observations happening in the field, but they are so targeted to a specific academic audience. We need to figure out ways to make science more accessible to everyone, and I think artwork can be one of the most effective ways of starting scientific conversations with a more engaging approach.

For my upcoming solo exhibition at Edge Gallery opening at the end of October 2021 titled “Cyclical Forces”, I am using my experiences from this summer and current research from scientists to consider what we understand about relationships in the environment. How do pollinators affect plant abundance? How are the larger factors such as temperature change, snowpack, and global change affecting flowering species — and how does this impact the pollinators who live in Colorado? The artwork will include interactive panels where viewers can rotate circles that are connected by gears. I want to create an experience where the movement communicates some of these intertwined relationships. While the artwork is communicating some of the graphs and data from the science community, my hope is that it sparks bigger questions about what we know, what we don’t know, and the long-term effects of shifting environments. 

For example, one of the artworks title “Mismatch” is about a potential issue that might be created in the near future. Many alpine wildflower plants are blooming earlier and earlier in the year due to soil temperature and snowpack melt dates shifting earlier. However, the broad-tailed hummingbird migration path is not shifting or adjusting at the same rate. What would happen in a world where at the flowers they feed on in the mountainous regions of Colorado are no longer available at the time when they migrate to this region? 

My artwork includes a wide variety of materials — graphite, watercolor, wood, resin, printmaking — but I always include aspects of realistic drawing. I try to create artwork that invites the viewer in look closer by being visually interesting but raises important conceptual questions about contemporary or environmental issues. I want to catch their attention, then reveal something deeper to consider. 

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
Instagram is the best space to follow along my creative journey. I love to post information about what I’m thinking, videos that capture details, or snapshots of the behind-the-scenes process. I want this to be a space where people can learn alongside me. 

October 22 – November 7 – join me for the opening of a new body of artwork that will be on display at Edge Gallery. Several of the pieces I am creating are interactive, so it is extra fun to get to see these in person! 20% of the sales of this artwork will support nonprofit organizations doing work to promote pollinator habitats. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Adam Houseman photography

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