Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Saturday, 17 June 2017

MEET ASMAH WILLIAMS



A month ago I came across the.black pepper’s Instagram page. I didn’t know who they were but I loved what they did with collages. Whilst doing my research I discovered the person behind the username was the promising artist and influencer Asmah Williams. 

 After viewing her Tumblr page that can inspire any A seat at the Table listener for days as she sophistically infuses art, craft and fashion, I thought I must get in contact with her as I was eager to find out the concepts behind her work. It all began with a direct message on social media and the rest is history!

Enjoy my interview with Asmah Williams. I’m glad to get you acquainted. (Thank me later!)




1.Tell us about Asmah Williams, how do you define yourself?

I am a Nigerian visual creative and student living in the UK. Whilst studying Law and Business at college. Collage art developed as a hobby that I continued to explore. I would probably say my work gravitates towards exploring the subconscious of my mind and image re-imagination. I also share with my audience my personal style that I believe subtly seeks to break the stereotypes associated with modest fashion.


  

2. Why is collaging your preferred medium to use when expressing your work?

It leans towards a broader form of expression. Creating a different meaning and telling a different story each time with a single image. Collaging is looking past the original image to create a different meaning based on emotions and events. It's almost as if it leaves a blank canvas that can be reused and allows the viewer to interpret based on their emotion. Collages does not say this is what I want you to see because often it is usually intricate.  They convey a meaning that is personal to the viewer. I think with collages I have more artistic freedom. When I see or shoot a picture I have stories in my head that the original picture may not convey. With collages I am able to fuse photography and art. I like to create things that reflect my emotions that is why I wouldn't necessarily create when I have no inspiration or interest, it would not come across as authentic. This makes it hard sometimes when I get commissions and there is a deadline.

ASMAH WILLIAMS X MICHEAL NELSON



3.What does your project with Daniel Obasi signify/mean to you?

I've always admired Daniel's work and vice versa so when we thought to collaborate together; it seemed natural to reinterpret some of his beautiful self-portraits. When looking at Daniel's work you see a sense of self, gracefulness and ethereality and so I thought to complicate that by reimagining the portraits to create this otherworldly image synonymous with the sun.

ASMAH WILLIAMS X DANIEL OBASI

4.How do you get inspired?


A large part of my inspiration comes from discovering shapes and forms alongside old photographic works. When it leaves a tingling in my belly, the inspiration comes. At other times, I think ‘is this honest?’ If yes, I allow myself to create and continue, I like to take into consideration the honesty that comes from behind the visual because it always shows. I’m still working on being more honest. It's difficult when I am in full time education studying such a ‘conventional’ research based course that leaves me little or no time to dwell in that mindset.

I am also inspired by everything I haven’t seen, one of my favourite commissions allowed me to explore the Masai and Samburu tribe of Kenya, learning about things that I normally wouldn’t have to draw inspiration from inspires me.


Masai tribe member


5. What piece of work are you most proud of and why?

I think it's quite hard to choose. Usually I am emotionally attached to the last piece I've created. I am most proud of the project ‘Lying under the purple moon’, it was very spontaneous. I was on the bus, but there is an ingenious truth that I see every time I look at it that makes me even more in proud. I think the most beautiful reward was seeing a number of people use that piece to reflect International Women’s day. I was in awe that many people connected to it.




6. Who are your influencers/inspiration?

Specifically to collaging, German artist Brian de Graft(B.D. Graft), the Dada movement particularly their nonsensical approach to collage. Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Erased de Kooning Drawing’.

I am rediscovering the works of Yves Klein and Jiro Yoshihara. I love having to go back to Ellsworth Kelly and Paul Klee. As for fashion my parents with their highly idiosyncratic approach to style.

My music influences vary from Benjamin Clementine, Christine and the Queens and Sami Yusuf. I am such an observer, I seek inspiration from nearly everyone, and there is just a certain beauty from the way someone speaks or sees life that excites me. I am actually developing an interest in film, after my final exams, over the past two weeks, I’ve been seeing old classics and searching for patterns of melancholy, vulnerability and naivety. It's strange but I am quite naive so I love to see a motion picture exploring the unworldly nature of naivety- watch the film Amelie!

ASMAH WILLIAMS X DANIEL OBASI

Check out more of Asmah's work here.


For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 









YASMIN TELLS





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