Brian Williams - Columbus Open Studio & Stage


Brian’s home studio is filled with the things that inspire him: books, art and music. A picture window in the front room provides plenty of natural light. On display throughout his house will be his art collection that he has purchased or acquired from his artist friends over the years as well as examples of his own artwork, including pieces from his latest book illustration commission. Brian will be demonstrating his artistic process, from brainstorming and sketching to finishing a piece. After parking on the street, visitors will be greeted by a volunteer on the front steps.




Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, I currently live in Columbus, Ohio, where I work as an artist, graphic designer and college art instructor.

I graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2003, where I studied Illustration, Fine Art and Art History, and where I now teach figure drawing classes. I’ve also taken graduate-level courses studying art crime. I have given several classes and lectures on the subject.

My artwork has been published in magazines and literary journals in Australia, the U.K., Spain and Austria, and has been featured on websites such as ARTNews, Juxtapoz, and the Audubon Magazine blog.


In my drawings, I like to play with surrealistic juxtapositions of animals in a man-made environment – either posing as a person or replacing man-made technology – to illustrate the ways people and animals are similar but also to create unusual, humorous or vaguely unsettling images.

My interest in history is a major motivating factor in my artwork, so I like to start with historical photography as inspiration for my compositions. Sometimes I focus on times when human history clashed with natural history, such as in my “Extinct Birds” series, which shows birds that have gone extinct as a result of direct human interference. I depicted the birds dressed in clothing that was fashionable during the year that they went extinct as a way of visually connecting the animal’s history with our own.

In other drawings, I imagine an alternate history where animals have taken the place of humans, like in my “Explorers” and “Gilded Age” series. For “The Gilded Age,” I replaced the human subjects in the photos with animals as a way to illustrate character traits – such as fearful, enigmatic, mournful, dominant or pitiable – that we often also associate with animals. The animals in these drawings become visible manifestations of these traits, giving them physical form, and breaking through the civilized “gilding” that humans have cultivated to mask their more animalistic emotions.


Previous | Next Artist >

My Work & Studio