Williams, Herb

Crayons are a gateway drug. To most adults, the sight and smell of crayons produce specific memories of childhood. The twist in the road to nostalgia is the creation of a new object, from a medium in which it was not intended.  This element of unexpected interaction and play had me at hello.


I am one of the only individual wholesalers of crayons in the world.  Because I am in pursuit of larger ideas, the playful aspect of my medium is integral to the works of art I’m creating. I can subversively insert a concept that may bloom well after the initial recognition of the form as a familiar children’s implement. To create my work I need to produce sculpture on a grand scale (which takes thousands and thousands of crayons), so I order each color individually packed (3000 to a case) and cut the sticks down to the length I need.  I then bond the paper—not the wax—to a form I have carved or cast, completely enveloping the form.


I am interested in identifying iconic objects that society perceives to fit one role and then reintroducing them in different subtexts. Intriguing questions arise when an object associated with childhood, such as a crayon, is used to address issues dealing with more adult matters, such as sexuality, religion, and social hierarchy. The sculptures are childlike in their curious approach to the object as icon, but beguiling and satisfying to me in the use of pure color as form.  Larger room installations also add the element of playing to the olfactory sense, as the scent of the wax completely saturates the environment. My intent is to continue to seriously create art that looks at itself unseriously



1996      B.F.A. (Sculpture), Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, AL

1995      Apprentice to Cordray Parker, Birmingham, AL

1996      Apprentice to Branko Medenica, Birmingham, AL



2015    Call of Couture, The Rymer Gallery Nashville TN

2014    Asian Tour (scheduled), Hong Kong, Beijing, Taiwan, Shanghai

2013    Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, KY

2012    The Rymer Gallery, Nashville, TN

2012    The Nashville International Airport, Nashville, TN

2011    University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

2011    Portrait of a Wildfire, National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock, TX

2010    The Children’s Museum of Art, New York, NY

2010    Manifest Equality, Los Angeles, CA

2009    The Rare Gallery, Chelsea, NYC

2009    The Hunter Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN

2009    Manifest Hope, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, DC

2008    The Frist Center for The Visual Arts, Nashville, TN

2007 The Rymer Gallery, Nashville, TN

2007 Satellite Gallery, Seaside, FL

2006 Ruby Green Gallery, Nashville, TN

2006 Mason Murer Gallery, Atlanta, GA

2005 TAG Gallery, ArtChicago, Chicago, IL

2005 Mas de Puech Long, Aubais, France

2005 River Gallery, Chattanooga, TN

2004 The Arts Company, Nashville, TN

2003 Galerie la Place, Calvisson, France

2003 Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, TN

2002 Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Nashville, TN

2002 Finer Things Gallery, Nashville, TN

2002 Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

2001 NORDYS Gallery, Birmingham, AL

2000      Belmont University, Nashville, TN

1999 ArtSynergy, Nashville, TN



2013 New York Medical Center,NYC, NY

2012    Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Nashville, TN

2011    Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT

2010    The White House, Washington, D.C.

2010    LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN

2009 Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Santa Monica, CA

2008 Crayola, Easton, PA

2007 Levine Children’s Hospital, Charlotte, NC

2006 Vogue Magazine Inc., Los Angeles, CA

2006 Martina McBride, Nashville, TN

2006 Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York, NY

2006 Bruce Allen Talent, Vancouver, Canada

2005 Red Grooms, New York, NY

2005 Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel, Nashville, TN

2004 HOTEL lucia, Portland, OR

2004 Pinnacle National Bank, Nashville, TN

2004 Chancellor & Constance Gee Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

2003 The Gary Group, Inc., Santa Monica, CA



2013    Interview Magazine, Moscow, Russia

2013    Black Coffee Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico

2012    Number Magazine 71, Memphis, TN

2011    The National Endowment For The Arts, Lubbock, TX

2010    BBC, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2010    SouthWest Magazine, New York, NY

2009    The Daily Telegraph, London, England

2009    Good Morning America, ABC, New York, NY

2008    The Next Star Artist Award, Sydney, Australia

2008    CBS Evening News, New York, NY

2008    American Way, In-Flight Magazine of American Airlines, New York, NY

2007    Hotel Preston, Nashville, TN

2006    Healthways, Nashville, TN

2005    Joan Mitchell Museum Award, New York, NY