Local creatives in South Africa – Introducing Scott Eric Williams
One of the local creatives in South Africa I admire and look up to and who I have been promising to feature is Mr. Scott Eric Williams! He can be found on my Creative Colleagues page on my website. He’s an artist, photographer, illustrator (that’s the official stuff). But he is so much more.
He has been an independent artist since November 2012 when he was retrenched. In addition, he has worked as a youth facilitator, arts administrator, and research assistant. He also freelanced in the creative industries while employed in the banking industry for 11 years.
He is a friend to many and one of my mentors.
Where it started
On the 11th April 2016, Scott sent an email and shared resources with me to help with severe anxiety and depression symptoms I had been experiencing. As most of you know, I’m quite open with my mental health struggles and my challenges in life. One of the platforms I use is my Facebook profile and page. And it is here that Scott learned about my struggles and reached out. So, when a stranger (we were not friends at the time) connects with you and genuinely has a concern for your well-being and does not want anything in return- it’s a sign. He may not be that bad of a character.
From friends to colleagues
After a couple of months of getting to know one another, a fierce friendship grew. And more and more I admired his critical thinking and a passion for challenging the status quo.
When one sees local creatives in South Africa, like Scott, actively engage in debates and banter concerning political dramas and social issues, it stirs me up inside. It ignites something inside that gives me permission, in a way, to paint more than just pictures. To create work that speaks.
I started looking for an artist mentor, as I wanted to see tangible growth in my art and my business. I didn’t think he would take me on but after taking a few corners in conversation, he agreed.
Our mentorship journey is fresh, but so many fruits have come from it. But true to form, Scott has managed the mentorship into more than lessons learned from an experienced artist. An interdependence blossomed.
Snippets of Scott’s biography
With a few years of student leadership and active involvement in student affairs, I find it intriguing to see how the local creatives find and create spaces in which to deal with sensitive issues. As per his biography:
Scott’s work reflects on urban migrations, and contemplates experiences of love, loss, depression, land, hope and trade within the inner-city context.
Through his use of urban detritus he strives to make sense of the city – as he knows it – by engaging with its leftovers.
Williams is moved to create deep empathetic work, with an intention to contribute to a positive, proactive image of African identity.
When referring to some of his works, the following describes it perfectly:
Scott’s current body of work embeds a sense of site-specificity due to the nature of materials coming from particular stores, locations which are more traditionally inhabited by African foreigners. Cardboard, ropes, adverts, printed matter which originate from these spaces are used to interrogate the welcome, or lack thereof with which people are received into neighborhoods and give it an alternative, Afrocentric identity.
Scott is forward thinking. And as simple as that sounds, it’s true.
Even the great artists before us had a thing or three to say about art and where it fits in. Not only in the grander scheme of things, but also with respect to getting to grips with social qualms.
“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” ― Anton Chekhov
Here are a few highlights for Scott Williams during 2012 – 2017:
- Playing a key role in organizing Elsies River ‘s first Pop-Up Exhibition – November 2012
- Participation in the Resonance Bazaar Residency and producing 3 bodies of photography, a political
cartoon and a short animation clip – March – September 2013
- Founding Member of Burning Museum Art Collective. Participation in various exhibitions with my
collective: Centre for African studies UCT, Brundyn+, Bag Factory, Gallery MOMO amongst others.
- Photographing and supporting compilation of comprehensive online archives for Lionel Davis, Garth
Erasmus and Peter Clarke as well as groundbreaking Community Arts organizations (CAP, VAG,
- Attending the OpenLab residency via the Free State Arts festival
Future plans for Scott
When I hear about what Scott has planned in the pipeline – even on a conceptual level- I am filled with hope. Because he never only thinks about himself. It’s about all of us. Creating a space for us. For us local creatives in South Africa, and beyond the border, yearning to do and say more.
And you know what, Scott not only does what he can to assist you in this mostly lonesome mission but he has a strange way of getting you to do most of the work yourself.
He guides. But draws out natural talent and abilities in you, as an individual.
Sometimes, I wish more creatives were like this. I have seen the fights, which more-often-than-not fade into comparison to the bigger issues we face.
Scott is right. We all have a space in the sunshine. And for some of us, our mission is to create space for others too. There are a few of us local creatives who appreciate you your work Scott.
Scott has kindly reviewed some of my works and I’ve created a hashtag that you can follow #whenscottspeaks. I’ll add his reviews to my paintings in my store like I did with “Come Away From the Edge”.
And a BRILLIANT review he did for mixed media artist, Blessing Ngobeni’s ‘Enemy of Foe’, is also live on Artthrob’s website.
He is also contactable on his mobile: +2762936108