Featured Artist: Stacie Williams cut her teeth locally before branching out on her own

Jonathan Roberts • Jan 13, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Originally from Georgia, Stacie Williams has lived in Johnson City long enough to consider herself a local. 

After moving to the area to attend East Tennessee State University, Williams decided to stay in the region after graduating in 2005, working as a freelance artist and screen printer before taking a job at Nelson Fine Art and Frames, a position she “loved” until she left 10 years later.    

Now, Williams has turned her full attention toward being a solo artist, working to get her screen printing business, Asterosperma, up and running while continuing to complete her own artwork in a sustainable, eco-friendly way.  

Williams briefly:

Favorite local restaurant: Main St Pizza

Favorite color: Green, but also orange

Dogs or cats: Cats rule! Dogs drool!

Favorite movie: If I have to pick, Dr. Strangelove, but also Little Shop of Horrors.

Favorite music/musician: It’s probably a tie between Talking Heads and Devo.

How did you first get into screen printing and illustrating?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and even as a kid, my drawings were illustrative in nature. There was always some narrative I was working with, either a story I had heard or one I invented myself. I was introduced to screen printing in art school, and I took to it like a fish to water. It not only perfectly suited my style at the time, but it has also affected the evolution of my work over the decades. Plus, it really appeals to my penchant for methodical processes.

What's your favorite part of being an artist, and when did you realize being an artist was the career you wanted? 

That’s a really hard question to answer. It’s just what I do. I like being creative and making (and breaking) my own rules. It’s very satisfying. It was never a conscious decision on my part. It’s just something I’ve always done. It’s the only thing that’s ever strongly appealed to me, career-wise.

What advice do you have for young/new artists?

Just finish the work, even if you mess up or hate the direction a piece seems to be going. Everything does not have to be a masterpiece, but you can still learn and take something away every time. Everything I have ever made I’ve hated at some point during the process. You just have to see it through to the end.

What's your favorite thing you've made, what was the process like and why is it your favorite?

A few years ago, I completed a series of 10 prints illustrating the ancient Greek poem “The Battle of the Frogs and Mice,” which I was also translating from Greek at the time (a favorite hobby of mine). The process was fast paced because I was on a firm deadline. I didn’t have time to get stuck on small details or overthink things. It was more like a stream of consciousness approach to image making, which isn’t how I typically work.

It gave me a chance to tell a complete story from beginning to end through imagery, carefully selecting the most important scenes. It also combined two of my passions, drawing and translating ancient Greek. The work was very well received, as well, and people still bring it up to me, how much they love the story and the images years later, something that really means a lot to me as an artist.

Also, one of the images from the series was recently used on the cover of a beautiful translation of the poem, translated by Matthew Hosty and published by the Oxford University Press. I received my copy a few days ago on New Year’s Eve, and I can honestly say, it was this Greek language nerd’s happiest moment and a really great ending to a very eventful year!

What’s next for your career, aside from working on your business?  

It’s a very fulfilling life, but one thing that has been missing after leaving the gallery was my role in connecting artists with the community. To fill this need, I’ve recently had the pleasure of joining the Johnson City Public Arts Committee, where I hope to offer my skills and knowledge to help continue the great work they’ve been doing for the community. 

You can find Stacie Williams’ work on her website, www.asterosperma.com, or on Instagram and Facebook, @asterosperma. 

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