Born in Johnson City, Tennessee in 1962, Williams has lived mostly in Andrews, North Carolina since 1968. Williams has drawn since an early age and began painting when he was 18 as a self-taught outsider "folk artist."
Williams has also been able to become a well-respected and best selling comic book and graphic novel artist, mostly through his work for Dark Horse Comics. He is perhaps best known for his paintings for the Dark Horse's Star Wars: Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire graphic novellas with author William C. Dietz. At the 1996 Association of Illustrators' Los Angeles Show, seven of his pieces were chosen, two among which are features in the novella. He also illustrated the cover to Tarzan: The Lost Adventure for Dark Horse.
As a fine artist, Williams has worked mostly on acrylic paintings made on recycled lumber and random things found in thrift shops. The backgrounds are achieved through multiple layers of primer and paint, sometimes followed by sanding.
Williams' fine arts work contains a wide range of subject matter, but also features many reoccurring themes: blues musicians, homicidal cowboys, religious folklore, beer bottles, olives, roller coasters, clowns, bees and monkeys, are some examples. As a die-hard blues enthusiast, Williams' art is often music inspired.
Another body of Williams' work is a series of ink on paper drawings which often serve as sources for his paintings. The drawings also contain esoteric writing, personal notes, or snippets of overheard discussions, which sometimes appear later on paintings.
Williams says his philosophy of art is that art should not be separate or more lofty than everyday life. He would be as glad to exhibit his work in a barber shop or bar as he would be to have it displayed in an art gallery. His future ambitions are to do more assemblage work which will be combined with his painting and drawing and to help promote other artists in his local area.
In 2002, Williams opened a music store in Andrews, North Carolina, after a record collecting binge. Known simply as Dean’s, the store sells and trades in an extensive inventory new and used records, CDs, movies, books antiques and oddities (the store motto being "the odder the better"). Situated behind a green, yellow and maroon store front, with blues music playing on the sidewalk, the store stocks a good balance of new artists, a thorough inventory of classic rock, an extensive blues section, rap and R&B, funk, soul, jazz, country and classical.
The store would eventually come to double as Williams personal "outsider folk art" gallery, as well.
Williams says that operating his store has made it possible for Williams to provide for his wife Ann and four children while pursuing his art career in a musical environment.
Dean Williams' official website: http://www.deanwilliamsart.com/