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Meet Zack Williams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zack Williams.

Zack, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have a mom who was a public school art school teacher in New Jersey for 40+ years. We always had art supplies around, went to museums and local theater. My sister was always into music and I was always into drawing and my parents really encouraged us. I spent a lot of time alone with two working parents. This is where I began to make my own comics, paintings, sculptures, music, and eventually combined all of the above into making videos. Inspired by Wayne’s World, I got a public access time slot and convinced a bunch of my friends to act out little scripts. I was heavily influenced by Frank Zappa, local New Jersey filmmaker Kevin Smith, and R Crumb. I was cultivating my own little world in my parent’s basement and that world still exists today, mostly in the form of 3d animation. I went to a very expensive art school in NYC called SVA. It was amazing but way overpriced. I’ve spent most of my career paying it off by animating ads. Advertising money has enabled me to pay off my loan debt, travel a bunch, and take time off for art projects.

However, at 31, I’m comfortable enough to see the dark toll it takes on the public, the environment, and creativity itself. Last year, my girlfriend and I moved to Virginia. I took a staff job at a small motion graphics company. I love the nature here; long bike rides and running in farm country is where I find inspiration. After 12 years in NYC, I realized that big cities aren’t good for me and they aren’t good for creativity either. Big cities can make you feel spread very thin. Emotionally, physically, spiritually; not to mention financially. After working in almost all mediums of animation, I currently use 3D (Cinema 4D) to create character-based films and images. I frequently collaborate with musician friend, Maxwell Sorensen. We’re living in times of great consequence, and I hope that inspires people to create work that is either more emotional or more educational, and not just profitable. We live a very material, vapid society, and I think art can be the antithesis to these qualities, not its propaganda. I think we’re getting to a point where there is too much media, all of which is coupled with ads. I encourage young people to do the most rebellious thing there is; disconnect from social media. Make things that make you or your friends happy. Fuck the man. Go vegan. Don’t smoke tobacco. Think for yourself, question authority.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest struggles in pursuing an artist career is yourself. I think it’s amazing that I’m still making things. That drive never goes away. But as I get older, my continued art-making is a result of discipline, which includes feeding your passion. You have to live a life worth commenting on. Investing time and energy in things outside of art makes your art more personal and more meaningful. It has to coexist with relationships, fitness, adventure, family, a job and being very bored at any of those things. Watering all the plants in your life garden creates a fertile and supportive places for creativity to flourish. If your life becomes only your art pursuit, then you stand to become either depressed, or even worse, a boring person. Other struggles include crippling student debt, bed bugs, substance abuse, and the overall pool of narcissists, weirdos, and negative people that our attention conscious society rewards for living their truth.

Please tell us more about your art.
I work in an office job creating motion graphics. I don’t really identify with that. I identify with the art I make for myself. I spoke of creating a little world as a teen. It’s all about tapping into that. These days its a lot of 3D animation, sketching, and given the pandemic, a lot of cooking.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have educated myself by way of the internet. I’ve taught myself most of the programs I use through YouTube videos, online courses, and blogs. I think future generations will be able to avoid gatekeeper institutions like giant private art schools and adapt to technology very quickly.

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Image Credit:
Zack Williams

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