Artwork paints joyful noise
Some people describe great works of art as those that “speak to them.”
If that’s true, then people are hearing brassy horns, whistling woodwinds and pounding drums when gazing into Rosemount resident Terry Williams’ “aRose.”
Originally conceived as a gift to the president of the Tournament of Roses Parade, of which the Rosemount High School marching band is a 2014 participant, the multimedia piece has taken on a life of its own.
People liked it so much, they wanted one of their own to display.
Williams, who says the positive vibe around his work has been “groovy,” is making prints of it available to the public with 50 percent of the proceeds to help defray band members’ travel expenses for the Rose Bowl Parade journey – a first in Rosemount’s long history.
“It’s a real sense of accomplishment knowing that all the hard work that has been put in pursuing my dream to be a full-time artist is coming to fruition,” Williams wrote in an email. “I am always excited to get challenging new opportunities to show my progress as an artist.”
Band members have to pay their own way for the trip, which is estimated to total $30,000 for all 205 members. Fundraisers throughout the year have been held to place in a pool to help the students most in need.
“It feels like I am a part of the band,” said Williams, who is a three-year Rosemount resident and previously lived for two years in Eagan. “Although they are the musical performers, I am trying to capture their musical talents in my artistic expression.”
Williams aimed to accomplish that with a three-dimensional work that combines a background paint wash, building the images in layers with tissue paper and adhesives, and an acrylic paint overlay.
After several hours of applying fine detail to enhance the 3-D effect, Williams completed the piece in just over 80 hours in 11 days.
That’s an average of about seven-plus hours a day to meet the looming deadline – Tournament of Roses President R. Scott Jenkins’ July 13 visit to Rosemount.
Williams says he works well under pressure, adding that his larger scale pieces can take up to 150 hours to complete.
“(That’s) depending on the level of detail and amount of research I put into it before starting the piece,” he said.
Williams said the concept drawing of the work focused on a flow that incorporated all instruments used by the band members.
“The artwork is beautiful,” said band co-director Steve Olsen. “What caught my eye was the unique style he used in portraying the marching band members – very cool.”
He was commissioned to create the piece after the Rosemount Area Arts Council selected him through an interview process after an open call for artists.
“What caught our eye, when we looked at Terry’s work, was how unique it was,” said Stephanie Abraham, chairwoman of Rosemount’s committee overseeing Jenkins’ visit. “The artwork was the icing on the cake (of the visit).”
Williams, who took ad design courses at Brown Institute College in Minneapolis from 1992-94, forged this eye-catching direction in art in 2006 when he blended acrylic paint and sculpted papers to create 3-D works like “aRose.”
At the time, he said he wanted to do something innovative.
“My current work is something fresh and new and it gives me the drive and passion to continue to be creative and expressive,” he said. “Art can be very powerful and uplifting.”
Williams realized the power of art not long after his family moved from St. Louis, Mo., to Minneapolis when he was 9.
Soon after he began doing 4-H art projects, earning multiple Minnesota State Fair awards, and was encouraged by a professional artist mentor who is his friend to this day.
Williams, whose early artwork consisted of painting and drawing along with working with wood and fabrics, sold his first piece when he was 10.
He is so thankful for the support he received from 4-H as a child that he teaches 4-H art classes, in addition to being a community education instructor and mentor to high school students.
The full-time artist and his wife, Christine, operated the home-based business Infinity Arts & Designs, through which he sells his works.
By sharing his talents with others, specifically the Rosemount marching band, he hopes to bring joy to their lives.
“I want to see every one of those 205 musicians marching down Colorado Boulevard the morning of Jan. 1, and this is my way to help make sure that happens,” Williams said.
“Knowing this piece is now hanging in the Wrigley Mansion in Pasadena, Calif., it almost feels like a piece of me is also there performing,” he said. “It always feels good helping others. This just adds to the excitement.”
Posters and up to 500 limited edition signed prints, both framed and unframed, are available for purchase by contacting Williams or his wife, Christine, at 612-695-2341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and request an order form.
A framed poster is on display at the Steeple Center in Rosemount, 14375 S. Robert Trail, and at the Robert Trail Library through November.