1xRUN Through Interview
Worthwhile Weapons and One Cantankerous Cat by Mary Williams
1xRUN: What materials did you use to create these pieces?
Mary Williams: I’ve expanded my materials with this run. Some of these are mounted on recycled wood, which is new for me. I liked combining my detailed drawings with more rustic materials. I’ve been incorporating sharpies and different metallic pens with the graphite drawings and cut paper. I saved a couple of unused prescriptions for Xanax which I collaged onto. I’ve been saving everything.
1xRun: When were these pieces created?
Mary Williams: All within the last few months, though I think the ideas have been a long time in the making.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Mary Williams: ’You’re A Terrible Driver’ has been my largest collage yet. I was expecting to have more problems with it, but it turned out great. Similar to what it looked like in my head. It’s pretty simple, but there’s a lot going on in that one.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Mary Williams: These came pretty much right after the last series I had on 1xRUN, only I decided to make them bigger with more of a personality and sassiness.
1xRun: What is unique about these pieces?
Mary Williams: These pieces capture my introverted personal nature with a city straddling success and failure (Detroit) in a country divided on many an issue. Some with a very popular cranky kitty.
1xRun: Describe these pieces in one gut reaction word.
Mary Williams: Cantankerous.
1xRun: When did you first start making art and what was your first piece?
Mary Williams: I started drawing when I was a young girl. I never stopped. My first piece was a blue pinch pot I made out of clay in kindergarten. The boy next to me stuck his thumb in it to make it deeper. That really pissed me off.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on and who inspires you now?
Mary Williams: It was Georgia O’Keeffe that got me started painting and drawing. She worked her whole life in her own style and always hovered above categorization. Some of these were inspired by a bit of the local graffiti and street art which abounds in Detroit. People think it is such a crap hole here, but its very colorful and inspiring. Early 20th century American art still inspires me. O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, the 291 group, the Precisionists, they all made work that is just timeless to me. One more recent artist I really like is Sandy Skoglund. Drawings prints, sculpture, photography, she does all that and she does it really well. Plus she is quirky and fun. Edgar Jerins is my drawing hero.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work?
Mary Williams: I listen to Aimee Mann, Diana Krall, Jem, and Nikka Costa. Also I really like Beck, Muse, the Beastie Boys, and the Afghan Whigs. I joke with my husband that I have a thing for Chris Cornell, his solo stuff is my favorite. My musical tastes are stuck with my younger self in the eighties and nineties. Sometimes I love to listen to Chopin.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Mary Williams: I think I would have been able to work with Joseph Cornell. I read that he was quite introverted, like myself. Maybe after making work together, we might attempt a conversation. Or not.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Mary Williams: In college I bought a really nice cup made by someone in the ceramics department. I took ceramics, and I was really terrible at it. I keep the painful-looking stuff I made myself in my studio, and I keep the nice cup out in the kitchen where people can see it. I got a wonderful collage piece from a woman at the D.I.Y. festival in Ferndale last summer. I can’t remember her name, but she called them “Nests” and I wanted them all. It was just found objects plus things she found in nature that she fashioned into a little homey scene. The detail is just amazing.
1xRun: What other plans do you have for 2013?
Mary Williams: I have this dream of being on a book cover or on a frontispiece or somehow having my work accompany a piece of literature. One of my friends is trying to make this happen. So we’ll see. I’m also working on a series of portraits from some old photos I got in Oregon last summer.