What’s Your Talent: STWilliams Art by Shaneka Williams

I love being friends with creative people. Writers, musicians, performers and artists, those type of people. Not only do I get to hear inside scoop about their creations but I also get to be weird and kooky around them without getting awkward comments like “are you okay?” or a “why do you say things like that?”.

That, thankfully, does not apply to my friend and fellow William Morris Sixth Form survivor Shaneka Williams, who, according to her Facebook page, is “a Liverpool based Artist and Illustrator; currently undertaking a BA in Fine Art and Art History”. As of 2014, she has some of her artwork done and finally ready to come out and meet you wonderful people.

Writer and artist?:

Let’s click rewind to a couple of years ago, when we were two out of the four best English Literature A-Level students who survived the longest Monday double lessons (Hi Chanté and Tumblr queen India!). I will always remember our little drawing conversations using Rihanna song titles and her really cosy jumpers from that vintage shop that she still needs to take me to, by the way!

Fast forward to now, and we find her wonderful art finding a comfortable spot in the Internet, and I can not be any more excited to see her work. As she did a course on art during our time in college, I always used to see her walking in and out of the art department, but it’s only now that I get to fully see some of her finished work.

Colour!:

I’ve always been a fan of minimalism and her artwork tends to lean towards that direction without exaggerating, which appeals to me a lot. The random bursts of colour and simple sketches in her “Carnival Series” collection allows audiences to get a feel of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival. And since I couldn’t come, these pieces tell me I really should have. 

My personal favourite, however, can be found in the “Modern Vintage” collection.

Strut, 2014, collage, pen and watercolour on paper

Peacock feathers are always appreciated! Sort of captures the way the minds of the 1950s thought they were so perfect with their puritanical and repressed views.

Read on below as I asked Shaneka some questions on the subject matter.

“The ramblings of a passionate visual artist and biblophile”:

  1. How would you define modernism and minimalistic art?

I’d describe Modernism as a far-reaching movement that consciously rejected past models of practice. Modernist designs have dominated in architecture and continue to do so, with offshoots such as Brutalism. In terms of Minimalism, all Minimalist architecture and design is modern but not all Modernist art is Minimalist. Essentially I would describe Minimalist Art as being an extension of Modernism, which has been broken down to crucial components

  1. How would you respond to those who say contemporary art has little meaning, both in terms of their message and technique, compared to art from the Renaissance and even past decades like the 1950s?

I’d say they’re welcome to their own opinion; some people like contemporary art and others don’t, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it has no meaning. As time progresses things change and Art is no different. It is expected that as technology advances artists and the creative industries are going to take advantage of that. Not to mention that there are still some who maintain a traditional approach to practice, it hasn’t all simply vanished.

In terms of message I think that the possibilities have expanded substantially, the hierarchy of painting is no longer absolute and religion no longer has a tight grasp on the arts. Meaning, however, isn’t a universal understanding and doesn’t always resonate with everyone, nor should it have to, but often you will find that careful thought has gone in to the smallest of elements. On the reverse side, is meaning necessary to produce a great piece of art? I’d argue it isn’t but some people would disagree.

  1. Was art something you’ve always loved ever since you were a child? What sort of exposure did you have to Art growing up?

Art has always been an interest but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it as a child. I can remember in high school how much I loved to draw but hated getting hit by stray bits of clay.

I gradually became more committed to Art as a subject but had no real aims of pursuing it, that is until one of my art teachers encouraged me choose it as a GCSE option and from there I’ve steadily grown more attached. Funnily enough I can’t recall much of an exposure to art growing up – besides my Grandma’s numerous portraits of Jesus Christ and the occasional Caribbean scene – it wasn’t until High School that I had any kind on impactful exposure.

  1. What would you like people to take away from your work?

I wouldn’t say there is a specific message that I’d like viewers to automatically understand, after all every work is fundamentally different – particularly in terms of content. I would however want people to appreciate the parallels that have been drawn between past and present – in relation to visual art and language – as well as acknowledging unusual nuances in modern society.

  1. Last question and probably the most cliché: what’s your favourite colour?

Cliché, yes, but tricky nonetheless; I do own a lot of black but I’d have to say green is my favourite. Unfortunately there is no well-worded explanation of why I like it, I just do.

Web Map:

Follow her on her Facebook to catch her work but if you’d like to catch her during the process of her work then go click on her WordPress link below and say hello!

Facebook: STWilliams Art

WordPress: STWilliams Art 

Go check her out now! And if you do get to see her and her art in person, give both a huge hug for me. I miss you Shaneka!

– Troy

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