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Born 1962 and a graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York City, Williams is one of the most acclaimed and well known painters working in the comics and graphic novel field today. Williams is also a magazine illustrator, gallery painter and teaches contemporary figurative painting in Pasadena, California.
In the comics field, Williams is perhaps best known as a regular contributor to Marvel Comics' Epic Illustrated from 1983–1985, and as the regular cover artist for Vertigo's Hellblazer in 1990–1991. He also illustrated the graphic novel Tell Me Dark.
Williams is noted for his nuanced color and shading. He works with delicate line, or subtle gradations in color and value, or mixed media. For example, for one piece Williams used a kneaded eraser to mold a figure by lifting highlights from a background of vine charcoal. This style of fine arts influenced comics art has its roots in the urschleim and Williams is influenced by painters such as Klimt and Schiele. He is a contemporary of painters such as Dave McKean (Sandman) and George Pratt (Predator, Enemy Ace).
Williams is considered a consummate draftsman and painter. He has realized his work through various artistic channels; that of the illustrated word and the graphic novel (most recently, The Fountain with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky), printmaking, photography, design, architecture, and film.
A selection of his works on paper, Kent Williams: Drawings & Monotypes, was published in 1991, and Koan: Paintings by Jon J. Muth & Kent Williams, was published in 2001. His recent monograph, Kent Williams, Amalgam: Paintings & Drawings, 1992-2007, with text by Edward Lucie-Smith and Julia Morton, is the most comprehensive collection of Williams' work to date.
Williams returned as a visiting instructor to the Pratt Institute, and has since gone on to teach at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California; East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California. Williams currently lives in Los Angeles, and teaches painting at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Williams' work has been the subject of a number of solo exhibitions over the past ten years, including shows in New York City; San Francisco, CA; Sundance, Utah; the Duke Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina; and in Los Angeles, California, where he is represented by Merry Karnowsky Gallery. His painting Trace Double-Portrait was exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., as part of the Outwin Boochever 2006 Portrait Exhibition. His work is collected both in the U.S. and abroad.
Williams is the recipient of a number of awards for his work, including the Yellow Kid Award; Lucca, Italy's prestigious comics award. In 2001, he was invited to be a fellow at the Sundance Filmmakers Lab in Sundance, Utah.
Williams lives in Los Angeles. He has two sons, Kerig Sun and Ian Kai.
Kent Williams' official website: http://www.kentwilliams.com/