Nashville, Tennesse-based artist Herb Williams’ unique medium of choice is the Crayola crayon, an object that most of us remember scribbling messily with as children. In Williams’ hands, however, the crayon becomes a powerful and sophisticated tool used to create incredibly vibrant sculptures with bold colors and textures. In one of his most recent exhibitions, Call of the Wild, the artist uses melted and chopped-up crayons to construct nature-inspired sculptures such as a color-blocked deer, two wolves spewing a rainbow arch from their mouths, romping rabbits in solid hues, crows perching on a bright tree, and a tree trunk with technicolor rings.
Williams is one of the only independent buyers in the world who maintains an account with Crayola because of the sheer amount of crayons he needs for his work (hundreds or thousands for every sculpture). In his artist statement, he explains that he uses crayons not only because of their colorful potential and their saturated smell, but also because of their nostalgic quality in evoking memories of childhood.
“Intriguing questions arise when an object associated with childhood, such as a crayon, is used to address issues dealing with more adult matters, such as sexuality, religion, and social hierarchy.” Williams’ intent is “to seriously create art that looks at itself unseriously.”