Daughter of a Midwestern sharecropper, J.K. Williams moved to Brooklyn, New York in the 1970's to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture degree with Honors from Pratt Institute. Ms. Williams designed sterling silver and gold jewelry sold in department stores around the country before apprenticing as a fine jeweler and model maker at Tiffany and Company. Within a few years she specialized in the execution of highly realistic jewelry pieces in gold, platinum and precious gems for Tiffany’s Special Order department.
The artist also studied sculpture, watercolor, drawing, anatomy, and oil painting at the Art Students League of New York with a variety of instructors in regular classes as well as in workshops. In addition, she attended classes and workshops at the Salmagundi Club in New York. Ms. Williams’s most intensive study has been at the Art Students League with Boston School realist Hilary H. Holmes and with Costa Vaviagiakis. She was mentored for over ten years by the late Robert Douglas Hunter, New England artist and former President of the Guild of Boston Artists, and studied privately with Costa Vavagiakis. The artist's historic precedents are strongly Boston School, going back through a a direct line in the Academic realist tradition through Hilary H. Holmes, R.H. Ives Gammell, William MacGregor Paxton, Jean-Leon Gerome, Paul Delaroche and Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros.
Ms. Williams has worked in a variety of mediums, but largely in oil. Recently, she began to explore monotypes and monoprints and is currently continuing work on monotype and monoprints inspired by travel in the American West.
Ms. Williams has received a number of awards and special recognitions, most recently Finalist in the 14th International Art Renewal Center biennial competition and Honors Finalist in the American Academy of Equine Art's 2018 Online Showcase. Other significant awards include Top 75 in Southwest Art Magazine's 2013 Artistic Excellence Competition, Finalist in The Artists Magazine's 30th Annual Art Competition 2013, Honorable Mention in the International Museum of Contemporary Masters of Fine Art Salon International 2012 and a "Top Sixty Award" in their 2010 Salon International. Other special recognitions include the Art Students League Vavagiakis Class Exhibition 2011 Red Dot Top Award, and the Gail von der Lippe Merit Scholarship at the Art Students League. Additional prizes have included the Academic Artists Association Award and a cash award from the Masur Museum of Art, and other special recognitions from the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, The Artists Magazine and consistently in Vavagiakis Class Exhibitions at the Art Students League. In each of three years of attendance in Salmagundi Club classes, she won cash prizes in each year’s student exhibition, receiving two “Best in Show”.
Ms. Williams has exhibited in juried exhibitions at museums and cultural arts centers around the United States, including the Masur Museum of Art, Twin City Art Foundation, Monroe, LA; Coos Art Musuem, Coos Bay, OR; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, PA; Roseville Art Center, Roseville, CA: Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS; Brea Civil and Cultural Center, Brea, CA; Walton Art Center, Lafayette, AR; Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida, Panama City, FL; Hillcrest Art Center, Cambria, CA; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI; Art Center of the Ozarks, Springdale, AR; Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center, Springfield, MA and The Arts Center in Old Forge, NY. Her work has also been exhibited in New York City at the Salmagundi Club and National Arts Club on numerous occasions, and in a solo exhibition at Guild Gallery II at Fulton Center and group exhibitions at Hudson Guild Gallery at Elliott Center, New York, NY.
The artist is an Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club, an Associate Member of Oil Painters of America, Life Member of The American Society of Classical Realism, Life Member of the Art Students League of New York, and a Signature Member of the Academic Artists Association.
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