Charles Williams

Courtesy of Charles Williams.


"Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom" at SCAD MOA; “Sons of a Preacher Man” by Charles Edward Williams; courtesy of SCAD.

American Dream; courtesy of Charles Williams.

American Dream; courtesy of Charles Williams.

Charles Williams.

Sun + Light; courtesy of Charles Williams.

Charles Williams.

I AM I; courtesy of Charles Williams.

Charles Williams.

Soldier; courtesy of Charles Williams.

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New York

Checking In: Charles Williams’ Self Love and Soul Food

A few months ago, we met the South Carolina-based artist Charles Williams at The Savannah College of Art and Design. We were in town for the opening of “Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom”—a historic group exhibition presented by the college that Williams was presenting works in.

There, Williams presented a series of works entitled “Sons of a Preacher Man.” Three painted portraits of Douglass’ sons made up the series, showing the interpersonal relationships between the father and his sons.

Since, we’ve explored Williams’ overall practice and have grown to understand the deeper meaning of his work—like exploration of spiritual presence, absence or longing, and a translation of personal experience. His works respond to the context in which they’re included or displayed in, but respond to his personal life, too.

Whitewall caught back up with Williams to hear how he’s spending time in isolation, what exhibition he’s gearing up for, and where he’s finding hope.

WHITEWALL: How are you doing?

CHARLES WHITE: I am currently working on self-love, reflection, and meditation, along with a Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE) project from the Mississippi Museum of Art to debut the end of this year.

WW: What are you listening to, reading, watch?

CW: Not watching much TV or anything in particular. I’m bringing out older movie favorites to re-watch.

I’m listening to lots of eclectic music—feel-good music—from Soulection radio. A podcast I’m listening to is “The Secret to Success” with Eric Thomas and a saved Youtube video—Les Brown‘s lecture called “How to Get Unstuck.”

I’m reading Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.

WW: What are you cooking? 

 CW: Southern soul dishes with healthy emphasis.

WW: How are you staying connected?

CW: I’ve set up a weekly task of calling artists, collectors, and family every week and messaging on social media.

WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?

CW: Yes, I’m able to make work. Painting for pleasure, play, exploration, and less emphasis on subject and content.

WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?

CW: God, prayer, and long walks in nature.




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