Robert William’s ‘SLANG Aesthetics!‘ currently on view in Mesa, Arizona at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, grabbed the attention of the Phoenix New Times who connected with Williams for a ten question interview. Read the full interview on the Phoenix New Times website.
Are you part of a specific art movement?
I belong to an arts movement that’s kind of undefinable. It’s kind of a feral art movement of realists that have been scourged and put themselves back together over the past 30 years. It’s been difficult to be a realist since World War II, because abstract expressionism has cramped realism, and pushed it towards illustration.
When I was an art student in the early ‘60s, you were either an abstract realist or you weren’t anything. But a lot of mangy characters have come back to realism through surfer art, hot rod culture, skateboard art, and tattoos. The art world put its foot on the neck of those things, and I’m an evil product of that.
I’m considered the father of lowbrow art, although it’s not a great term. A lot of young artists prefer the term pop surrealism, but that’s not applicable to me. I’m just left in the bushes, in the wilderness on my own.