Zombies, Pinups And Punk Rock: How Robert Williams Made It In Academic Art World

Published: Friday, September 8, 2017 - 3:45pm
Updated: Friday, September 8, 2017 - 3:53pm

(Photo courtesy of Robert Williams)
Robert Williams poses with one of his large-scale sculptures, "The Rapacious Wheel."
"Puppets Orchestrating Puppets" by Robert Williams
(Photo courtesy of Robert Williams)
"Sequential Dissension" by Robert Williams

The Mesa Arts Center’s new season starts today, and they’re kicking it off with a show that celebrates "The Good, the Bad and the Weird."

The centerpiece of this is a show from the venerable Robert Williams, the godfather of low-brow and pop surrealist art. He’s the founder of JUXTAPOZ magazine. You might know his work from the rather famous cover of Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction” album.

Williams is a draftsman and self-proclaimed conceptual realist who's spent his career bringing hot rod culture, comics, graffiti, and tattoo art onto gallery walls.

But he’s not out to decorate — in fact, he told me his work is a feral form of art that can’t be contained.

I met Williams outside of the Mesa Art Center in our Soundbite Mobile Production unit to talk about how he fought to make it in the academic art world with a roster of zombie mystery paintings, pinups and punk rock.

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