In between exhibitions, Crayon sculptor Herb Williams takes on special, one-of-a-kind commissions. After his successful art installation of life-sized flames was completed in Texas, he was asked to create a Ferrari ENZO as a donation to a chidren’s hospital. Sooon after, that same person asked Williams if he wouldn’t mind creating a very special present for him and his wife’s 52nd wedding anniversary.
“It is based on a fantastic photograph from the early 60’s of his wife on a couch in a red and white striped one-piece,” he tells us. “She did some modeling then, and it has this very Mad Men look to it. I had to create a larger almost pointillism like painting on panel to then adhere the thousands of crayons I would cut down with oversize dog-toenail clippers.”
While we’ve seen crayons used like pixels before, we’ve never seen one so vibrant and colorful. (I especially like how he laid the crayons flat to make the subtlety patterned background.) “The real fun of the portrait is in adding colors that aren’t really there to make it more interesting, almost like a Chuck Close when you’re right up to the portrait, it’s abstract, but from a distance it completely works,” he says.
Two months and about 25,000 crayons later, the one-of-a-kind portrait was finished. “It was so sweet to do this portrait, because when I arrived to unveil the portrait, the wife had no idea. They had met when she was 15 and he was 17. All of their children and grandchildren were there to see it, and by the end of the evening all of her daughters were asking for the portrait to go to their house!”
Photos by Dave Johnson