“They’re like photos of the crazy year of 2020 — spring, summer, fall, winter,” says Williams Perez about his four-panel illustration with scenes from his desk that depict each season. For Perez, a recent Illustration grad, getting a running start to his career took place mainly from his home studio.
Perez’s other topics often have a similar light-hearted, inviting feel: Santa ordering presents online; monsters in a terrarium; a tiger relaxing in a cup of green tea. Others are weightier, like a BLM protester being embraced by the Statue of Liberty. What carries throughout, are dynamic colors with contrasting large and small elements.
“Williams is a strong visual communicator. His illustrations translate the challenges of real life into images that educate, inspire and bring joy,” says Illustration Chair Edward Soyka.
Along with freelance work, Perez teaches art to children. He tries to instill the principles of traditional drawing before transitioning to digital. It’s the training he received as a Fine Arts major, and again after transitioning to Illustration. “If you don’t know the essentials there’s no point in going digital,” he says. Prof. Soyka agrees: “He learned the skills of visual communication by drawing, painting and using technology. It’s what we offer all of our students.”
Throughout Covid, Perez has observed how individuals connect in ordinary but spirited ways. Above, a bundled-up couple enjoy a meal in an open-air, partitioned section of a restaurant. It’s cold but the heater above is scintillating. Another couple look pleased to be leaving with take-out.
Even the small elements — the heater above the plywood ceiling, a bouncy ponytail, a trail of blue flowers, the steam coming from the take-out bag — suggest small pleasures and caring touches.
“We’re outside in the cold eating, but we’re with loved ones,” says Perez. “We had a crappy year, but I wanted to show that there was joy too.”
Illustrations used with permission.