No butts about it: artist reimagines the ‘historically unaesthetic body part’

Artist Jessica Williams will haver her "Butts: Concepts and Color Theory” series displayed at the Shadow Box Gallery from Oct 18-31.

Sacramento State University student Jessica Williams is preparing to have her “Butts: Concepts and Color Theory” series displayed at American River College’s Shadow Box Gallery.

Williams, an ARC alumni, said  her reason for choosing such an unusual part of the human body is, “butts have historically been used in a very comical way. Artists have used them to rebel against the viewer by putting an ass at the very front of their painting. I’ve taken something that is historically unaesthetic and comical and reimagined the way we look at it.”

Artist Jessica Williams will haver her "Butts: Concepts and Color Theory” series displayed at the Shadow Box Gallery from Oct 18-31.

Artist Jessica Williams will haver her “Butts: Concepts and Color Theory” series displayed at the Shadow Box Gallery from Oct 18-31.

Williams said that she expects her work to be controversial among ARC students. In fact, it’s one of her goals.

“I want people to have that initial reaction that I had and think it’s crude or profane, to not take it seriously as an artistic dialogue … I want them to ask themselves ‘what is this illustrating’ and start looking at in terms of an actual artwork,” Williams said. “I want that dissonance. That dissonance is the point that I’m trying to make.”

Artist Jessica Williams will haver her "Butts: Concepts and Color Theory” series displayed at the Shadow Box Gallery from Oct 18-31.

Artist Jessica Williams will haver her “Butts: Concepts and Color Theory” series displayed at the Shadow Box Gallery from Oct 18-31.

Williams said her ultimate goal as an artist is just “be happy.”

“I believe that art is for the artist. The reason that I make art is because making art makes me happy and brings me joy. When other people find joy in my art or find meaning in my art that is a bonus. But even if they don’t, I don’t feel that it invalidates my artwork. I still like what I do.”

She plans on graduating from Sacramento State and pursuing a career in education, specifically teaching in the K-12 system.

“I want to teach art … art is dying in schools and that breaks my heart because that’s one of the only things that excited me about school growing up,” said Williams. “I believe that art is essential to human beings. I hear so many people say ‘I’m not an artist. I can’t draw.’ but you can. Being human is being an artist.”

William’s work will be on display at the Shadow Box from Oct 18-31.

To see more of William’s work, visit her website at JessicaAWilliams.com or find her Facebook page at Facebook.com/JessicaArtWilliams.

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About the Author

Luis Gael Jimenez
Luis Gael Jimenez is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist. Jimenez is currently in his fourth semester on the American River Current, where he serves as co-editor-in-chief of the paper. He has acted as managing editor and arts and culture editor in the past. Jimenez has had articles and photographs published in the Sacramento News and Review as well as the American River Review.

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