If you've been to the gallery lately, you've probably stopped and stared a little longer at those intricate sculptures covered in beads, buttons and whatever other random objects the artist could find. Despite the mish-mash medium, artist Noah Williams manages to provide stunning detail and technique. The rows of re-purposed pieces fit snugly together, clinging to the form and somehow adding to the pieces instead of weighing it down.
So where did Williams learn such precision? A fancy art school, no doubt?
Nope. He literally picked it up off the streets.
"Everything you see on my work, I've found out on the sidewalks, in trash cans or with my friends' help," says Williams. "Recently, a woman I met at the Torpedo Factory brought me two bags of beer bottle caps."
Just the other day, Williams admits to spending nearly an hour in a dumpster, digging for art supplies. "I hit the jackpot there," he says. "I found a lot cool stuff: faucet heads, poles and just other pieces of metal."
William's original approach to art supply shopping might seem unconventional. But his love of sculpture actually came from a very traditional place: African wood sculptures. "I always loved how they looked and the detail that went into them," he says. But wood wasn't his material of choice. He says he decided to try for the look of the wood sculptures, but with metal. "My subjects are similar to the African sculptures, too," he adds. "I love to make people and things in nature."
Right now, he's working on a giant fish sculpture made entirely out of seashells; a bit of a departure from the "one man's trash" mantra, but still the same idea. He gathered the pieces from a recent trip to Panama. "I spent the day collecting shells, along with items like feathers and sticks, from the sand," he says. Williams was inspired to gather materials from nature after he felt himself getting a little bored with his normal routine. "I was ready to move onto something else. I wanted to make a fish, so I grabbed some shells to give it a real island flavor."
He admits to being overly-focused on whatever his current project might be, calling himself "detail-obsessed," so the fish is the only project he is working on right now. "I'm working on the fish's skeleton right now," he says. "I'll force myself to finish soon, but I'll work on a project forever if I don't figure out a direction before I start."