This week’s guest collaborator on Doodles With Dillon is the artist Christopher Williams, who also goes by the name Wi Ji Wa Wa. Via Facebook, he answered questions about his unusual life and distinctive work.
What brought you to the Twin Cities?
I moved to Minneapolis eight years ago, upon graduating high school. Desiring greatly to dissever from my native state of Iowa, the nearby Minneapolis College of Art and Design helped facilitate my plans of furthering my expertise in art, as well as furnishing my exodus from a state which boasts, as its claim to fame, of being the birthplace of John Wayne, as well as [being] the site at which the first vacuum tube computer (the ABC machine) was built. Although I take a certain Arcadian pride in being from Iowa, I have to admit I had always found the cultural development of the city of Des Moines to be lacking in refinement. It’s a terrible thing to be raised in a society that is culturally bereft. It causes particular persons to yearn for art the way a man dying of thirst yearns for water. Yet, for all its baseness, Iowa does uphold an idyllic, simple lifestyle, which can yield, in the end, the upmost happiness. Therefore I can say, in reference to my upbringing in Iowa, “Et ego in Arcadia, tamen viva Minneapolis!”
How did you get started as an artist?
Classroom boredom in high school, and a failure to comply with academic authority, resulted in several hours of absent minded drawing, beneath the unheard discourse given by underpaid and ill-concerned teachers. This act [of drawing] eventually extended into its compass a fondness for the profession [of art], which I had endeavored to pursue.
What artistic projects are you working on right now?
I am currently working on a T-shirt project with local artist Biafra. Additionally, I am planning a public art display throughout the city of Minneapolis, set for April Fools Day; the chaos will take place in MIA park [Washburn Fair Oaks]. Basically, I made 50 paintings of cats. I will release the cats into trees, were they will be made available to the public for adoption. I [also] have work available at 801 Washington Avenue Lofts available for purchase until mid may. 801 was kind enough not to take a percentage of sales, so go check it out and buy a piece! Prices are $100-$900. Work from the Biafracaw collaboration project with Biafra is available there as well. You can also see more work from Biafracaw at the Tea Garden in St. Paul until the end of March. For more information, contact Wi Ji Wa Wa through Facebook.
What artists are your influences?
The influences of my work subside in too vast a multitude to be adequately numbered or defined.
Tell me about your collaboration with Dillon. How did it go?
Dillon was tired from sleep deprivation, and I was drunk off complimentary red wine from a previous art showing. Aside from those challenges, which we found altogether surmountable, everything went quite well.
What do you like on your tacos?
Justice. That’s what I like on my tacos. Cold, hard justice. I was born under the sign of Leo, and will fall under the sign of Aries. With justice, let all my tacos be bloodied from the heads of the slain.
- Interview by Jay Gabler
Image: Extinction, Christopher Williams