Michael Aaron Williams is a street artist who creates paintings on ledger paper from the early 1900s and 1800s, using coffee and ink. This antique paper, coming from the artist’s Great Great Grandparent’s rural Appalachian store, brings a touch of character into his work, which comes from the wears of time, and the coffee perfectly melts into the history of the paper.
Besides the unusual media and combination of materials, his work also has a personal aspect. On one side, the artist relates to his work through his roots and history. This one old century paper still features writing from that time and in one way, the artist completes these unfinished works. On another hand, Michael managed to relate his love for travel and food and transpose the connection that local food establishes with a traveler into his paintings. Comparing the feeling that local cuisine gives to someone discovering a new culture, the artist tried to convey the same feeling and impression into his art in a way that connect the viewer to his own culture. Drawing inspiration from his ancestry, the artist attempts to relate to the viewer by portraying the fragile nature of life, the human soul, purity and culture.
When we draw inspiration from our own culture and own experiences it can more greatly allow us to connect with our audience, and that for me is my ultimate goal as an artist. So this is why the substrate of the work is this century old paper as well as why I use so much North American and Appalachian subject matter and imagery. It is what I know being a kid that grew up in East Tennessee hunting and farming.
Enjoy a few of his paintings below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Photos are courtesy of Michael Aaron Williams
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