Dennis Paul Williams grew up in the 60’s in St. Martinville, Louisiana, where the prevalent Creole culture introduced him to French and West African aesthetics and values. As a child he was driven to explore artistic materials as he embraced his Creole heritage, where every aspect of life revolves around faith, celebration, and beauty.
When Williams was ten years old his father died, and shortly after that Dennis was diagnosed with congenital heart failure. He decided then that if God was going to judge him by his work he must make better use of his short time. He began his career with a self-portrait on his father’s pillowcase.
Williams’ works have since evolved into expressions of his deep spirituality; every painting is delicate and thoughtful, drawing on religion, tradition, his life, his family and his vast imagination. He favours the human figure due to its intrinsic spiritual power, and whilst female forms are frequently present in Williams’ work, so too are androgynous figures. “I’m trying to remove sexuality from the subject matter,” he says, “because our society is so obsessed with sex and sexuality… in my work I’m trying to show a balance”.
Williams has also gained much international acclaim through playing guitar in his brother’s band, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas. As the band travels the U.S, Europe, and Japan, Williams doubles up and exhibits his paintings to art collectors and at museums.
The relationship between Williams’ art (both music and painting), and his spirituality seem to embrace one word: healing. Whether an individual is overcoming illness, loneliness, or despair,
Williams’ art offers a prayer and moment of counselling.
Each piece is more a prayer than an image. What I try to create comes from the heart. My art is like a lotus which rises from the dark bottom of a pond, stretching its petals toward the light to greet the calmness of the day. My art is a meditation.