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YHC showcases crayon artwork

January 24, 2011

By Leila Shearon, Staff Writer

Herb Williams uses crayons as the medium for his artwork. Photo by Ashton Jones

“I just want to see some Crayons.” This student’s face lit up as they entered the Campus Gate Art Gallery. A bright yellow Penske moving truck sat outside the building late last week. It has been traveling all over the East coast, and its latest destination, Young Harris College, has waited in anticipation to discover what marvels created by medium artist Herb Williams, lie within.

Williams’ works are far from ordinary and boring. He expressed his reasoning behind the medium he chooses to convey his artistic voice. Williams does not use clay, stone, glass or ice to express his need to create beautiful sculptures. He uses a child’s simple art supply, crayons. Hundreds of thousands of Crayola crayons transform into brilliant pieces of art.

“For many years I made bad art,” Williams said. “Crayons were my gateway drug.”

He uses this common and innocent child’s  tool to express more dark , complex and adult issues and ideas found throughout the world that influence our lives and his art. One example of this that was featured prominently in the show was a piece that consisted of five children in all different colors. The work, inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, was intended to express the innocence of youth and their joy that is lost in adult years that brings conflict and the harsh reality of hatred. Williams explained the work with lyrics from a popular Christina children’s song, saying that “red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight.”

Other subjects that inspired the works displayed were environmental depletion, an artist’s biggest fears, love and social networking. Not only were the colors and medium original but, the story told and the images portrayed were creative as well.

The crowd ranged from students, children, locals and retired staff. Skye Butler, an art major, felt as though it was unique and very exciting. Williams’ works are so unique and amazing that he is one of the only people to hold an account with Crayola.

“I like to color,” said Whitney McClure, a sophomore history major from Hayesville, NC. “He took something so basic and made it amazing.”

Marcia and Dick Aumspaugh visited the exhibit on the Grand opening. Dick Aumspaugh was head of the Young Harris Art Program for over thirty years. He and his wife expressed that Williams’ “ideas are very creative. Who doesn’t love Crayons?”

Williams received his B.F.A in sculpture from Birmingham-Southern College, but discovered his passion for the Crayola wax coloring -pieces 10 years ago.

Since then, he has received The Joan Mitchell Foundation Museum Purchase Grant in 2004 and the Next Star Artist Award in 2008.

His works can be found in places such as America, China, England, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Croatia and Japan. His work will be on display at YHC’s Campus Gate Gallery through Friday, February 25.

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