Legendary pop surrealist painter Robert Williams sprang from
the custom car culture of Southern California and the
roots of the Underground Comix movement. Though known
today as one of the world's most iconoclastic fine
artists, Williams was also, of course, first and
foremost a cartoonist. As a member of the legendary
ZAP collective, along with R. Crumb.
eventually transcended the world of comics by
cultivating his mastery of oil paints and forging a
career as the preeminent artist among the outsider Lobrow art
movement. This new school of imagery was a product of art that didnt fit comfortably into the accepted definition of fine art. It embraced some of the figurative graphics that formal art academia tended to reject: comic books, movie posters, trading cards, surfer art, hot rod illustration, to mention a few. influencing a generation of artists to
create without concern for the fine art world, held in
contempt by Williams - a feeling which had been
reciprocated in kind for years by the established fine
art community, although Williams' sheer mastery of his
craft has caused a grudging retreat - Williams
paintings now command tens of thousands of dollars
each in the gallery scene and the artist has a long
waiting list of potential buyers.
A painting student first at Los Angeles City College and later at the Chouinard Art Institute, Williams got his first break when he became the art director for legendary hot rod hero Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. With the rise of the counterculture in the late 1960's. Williams found a growing audience in the underground comic milieu that nurtured such figures as Robert Crumb, Victor Moscoso and S. Clay Wilson.
One of the originators of Zap Comix, Williams continues its' tradition of no-holds barred creative exploration. In 1994 Williams founded Juxtapoz magazine with a group of artists and collectors. The publication's mission statement was to present art that is provocative, technically adept and worthy of exposure.
William's work has been presented internationally on album covers and posters and in magazines.
His exhibits have included:
- "Zombie Mystery Paintings" at the Zomo Gallery in 1982
- "Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990's" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in
Los Angeles in 1992
- "Kustom Kulture" in at the Laguna Art Museum, 1993
- "Conceptual Realism: In the Service of the Hypothetical"
at Shafrazi Gallery in NYC and Cal State Northridge, 2009
- "Slang Aesthetics" at various galleries, 2015
- "The Visual Adventures of Robert Williams" at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, 2022
New Books Available For 2022:
"Ink, Blood, and Linseed Oil: The Collective Writings of Artist Robert Williams"
Also: Improved reprint of Williams’ first book
"The Lowbrow Art of Robert Williams"
Visit Robert's website for more of the latest here: