paintings of Billy Dee Williams explore the architecture of dreams and
emotions, the mysterious qualities of the human experience that move in
subtle currents under the surface of everyday life. He depicts an "abstraction
of reality" - images rendered in a figurative style that bridge the visible
world of the here and now with the invisible terrain of feelings and imagination.
His large-scale works brim with a tension of movement that is achieved
through the use of dramatic perspective and a cinematically inspired flair
of nuance. Billy Dee Williams palette - cool, misty, and luminous - underscores
the dreamy ambience of his compositions. |
illy Dee Williams grew up in Harlem with a family that actively encouraged his artistic abilities and fostered an enthusiasm for all forms of cultural expression. He began drawing at an early age and won scholarships to the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design in New York. There he studied classical principles of painting. Ironically, it was the need to earn money to buy paints and canvas that brought Williams his extensive credits in both television and film. In 1988, he renewed his enthusiasm for painting during an acting appearance in New York. Since 1991, he has had numerous solo art exhibitions across America, and has donated paintings to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC and The Schomburg Museum in New York. Williams calls his paintings abstract reality to express the underlying principles behind them. He draws his subjects from life: people he has met, situations he has lived, and sometimes characters he doesn't know, but whose idiosyncratic appearance or behavior has caught his eye.
oncurrently, Billy Dee developed his talent in acting despite the objections of his art teacher, which had first been evidenced, through his Broadway debut in "The Fireband of Florence" at the age of seven. For many years, his life was dominated by the performing arts, and he achieved star status in film, theater and television. He is well remembered for his suave, romantic roles in Lady Sings The Blues and Mahogany; his greedy record baron on television's Dynasty, and his Emmy nominated role as Gayle Sayers in the telefilm Brian Song. A generation Of young people know him as the heroic Lando Calrission of Star Wars and equally popular sequels. His return to New York stage with Fences in 1988 provided an opportunity for Billy Dee to go back to his home and the center of the art scene, and awakened the painter in him. He went back to California with a new enthusiasm and a wealth of ideas for his original means of artistic expression, completing 120 works within two years.
lthough he has worked in oils, Billy Dee's current preference is for acrylics, which he applies to the canvas by both airbrush and paintbrush. His interest in Eastern philosophy characterizes his images, first to record the physical reality, and then to uncover through the application of light, color and perspective. He cites Edward Hopper, Escher, the Dutch Master, Frida Kahlo, Tamara de Lempicka, Thomas Hart Benton, and the exciting, vibrant forms of African art as some of his strongest influences.