Rites of Passage ceremony for
Krobo children in Somanya
Eastern region, Ghana, West Africa
art, photography, digital
media by William Jones
approach to art is shaped by my ideas, travel, and
years of study as an artist, as well as experience in
commercial art as a graphic designer and photographer.
My training in fine art is as an illustrator and digital
In addition to pencils, markers, and chalk pastels, the
tools I use to realize my creative vision include a
35 mm camera, a computer, and specialized printing
techniques using inks, dyes, and paper. I used to draw
all the time, using whatever was at hand. I started
blending art and technology when I reached high school.
The High School of Art and Design was my first formal
in commercial art.
While there, I learned about using different mediums and
tools for different special
effects. At the Kansas City Art Institute, I honed my skills
as both a graphic designer
and an illustrator.
Developing discipline as an illustrator
meant creating graphics by
hand, not relying on the computer. As technology developed,
I used the computer
merely as a tool in the printing process. Having a double
major was grueling work,
but it gave me the vision to look at and solve creative
problems as both a technical
and manual artist. Pratt Institute gave me the businesses
background to develop
methods and strategies for managing and marketing each
work as a project.
I graduated, I began teaching art. I also started combining
the mediums of
graphic design and illustration, mixing the media and
experimenting to see what
worked and what did not. This excited me because discovering
what media are
compatible can lead to new—and often unexpected—outcomes.
mediums allows me maximum versatility, giving me multiple
creating and expressing whatever I imagine. The concept
behind my art is a fusion
of traditional African cultural imagery and illustration
with contemporary American
digital new media art and printing technology.
When I began traveling, I wanted to document my unique
experiences. I started
with taking notes and doing sketches, and taught myself photography
as a method of capturing a moment in time. I use my own
ensure that I get the images
I want as reference materials. By personally traveling
to the site of an event, I
experience all of the sensations that I can. The photos
become a record of what
actually transpired and also bring back memories of the
event. The challenge is to
recreate on paper the feelings, sights, sounds, and energy
through my imagination.
I draw and sketch out on paper what I visualize. Using
the photos as reference, I
illustrate on top of the drawings from the photos using
inks and dyes. I choose
different art effects for each image, depending
on the elements that made a particular event outstanding.
The enhancements make
the image I create singular and deeply personal as well.
I know what emotional result I want to acheive based
on my own memories of the experience. There is no formula
because every experience is unique.
The computer allows me to add digital impact. The mixed-media
is then digitally printed
to ensure the vividness of the final piece.
art allows me to experience each event as an eyewitness,
as an artist/creator,
and finally as a viewer of the finished artwork.