TNT | Personal Best

Herb Williams

March 20, 2014

We will continue our monthly local spotlight series, Thursday Night Things, (TNT) with a one-night art exhibition on March 20, featuring the graffiti paintings and Technicolor crayon sculptures of Nashville artist Herb Williams. The exhibit, entitled Personal Best, will also feature works from iconic artists as renowned as Andy Warhol, Rene Magritte, Alexander Calder and Claes Oldenburg, and by acclaimed street artists including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Jen Stark and Josh Keyes. A live musical appearance by “Ameritronica” musical artist from one of Nashville’s favorite bands will also offer a surprise for attendees. To mark the event, Williams will even “tag” OZ with his own signature graffiti.

Although Herb Williams works with many different mediums and materials, he is one of the only individuals in the world with an account at Crayola. He creates original sculptures out of hundreds of thousands of individual crayons, and he’s earned accolades for these sculptures through Ripley’s and The Guinness Book of World Records. Thematically, Williams’s work exists at an intersection of pop Americana and natural wonders, often turning our focus to environmental issues like wildfires and water conservation. His paintings are indebted to the spray-paint immediacy of street art, while sharing the wildlife imagery and bold, prismatic colors of his sculptural work.

“We were excited to offer OZ’s 10,000 square foot warehouse up to Herb Williams to create something at our next TNT,” says OZ Artistic Director Lauren Snelling, “but we didn’t know what to expect. What he has brought together is nothing short of extraordinary. His desire to highlight the collecting community within Nashville and share works by the iconic artists who’ve influenced his own career is an example of the genuine spirit of generosity and support found in our city. It is important to Herb that Nashville be recognized as a city where people collect great art and where great art is being made.”

About the Artists

Herb Williams was born in Montgomery, AL, and received a BFA in sculpture from Birmingham-Southern College, and there apprenticed under two professional sculptors off-campus. Upon graduation, Williams immediately went to work at a bronze foundry in West Palm Beach, FL. There he cast hundreds of sculptures with the atelier Popliteo and the last work of art by photo realist Duane Hanson: Man on Riding Lawnmower. Williams then moved to Nashville, TN, where he has lived and created art since 1998. He has received The Joan Mitchell Foundation Museum Purchase Grant in 2005, the Next Star Artist Award in 2008, and was sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011.

Williams’s work was featured with Shepard Fairey at an art exhibit in Washington, DC, and recently he opened Plunderland, a walk-in room installation consisting of almost 500,000 crayons at a Chelsea gallery in New York. His sculptures have found frequent homes in public arenas, such as children’s hospitals, corporate lobbies, museum walls, and the White House and have been celebrated as far and wide as China, England, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Croatia and Japan. He just completed a large-scale outdoor installation at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, TX, which dealt with the wildfire devastation, and raising awareness for education, safety, and future planning. A two-year, six-city tour of his artwork throughout China will begin in 2014. He is currently represented by The Rymer Gallery in Nashville, TN.


TNT: a monthly program curated by Nashville-based artists representing multiple disciplines of performing and visual arts. Rather than observing a performance, audience members will get a glimpse into the artistic process of Nashville’s diverse and artistic talent in a relaxing setting, complete with signature cocktails, food trucks and conversation every third Thursday.