Christopher Williams: The art of catharsis

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Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and currently living in Stockholm, Sweden, Christopher Williams acquired a Master’s degree in Creative Arts Therapy from the Pratt Institute and a Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. He currently works as an Artist and Activities-based Therapist using expressive modalities such as art, music, drama and movement within special education, rehabilitation and psychiatric settings.

Christopher Williams painted portrait of Marilyn Monroe

Christopher Williams Marilyn Monroe

He is constantly striving to develop inventive therapeutic techniques, utilising creative modalities and sensory stimulation as tools for behavioural intervention and quality of life enhancements to enhance communication through art and music making. Christopher has exhibited Internationally in collaboration with several charity organisations to assist in building self-esteem, self-image and enhance the quality of life other disabled individuals. He has also single-handedly developed and implemented Arts in education programs to assist International educational development.

To create Art is something extraordinary. to experience the power of intrinsic motivation and the subsequent impact it can have on a life… I have always, even in my youth, embraced what art can cultivate as both a form of expression and communication. It is particularly appropriate to note that there is no such thing as a solitary endeavour on the journey of becoming.

Live painting by Christopher Williams showing a dancing woman

A live painting by Christopher Williams

My grandfather, a war hero, as well as a profound sculptor, built this foundation for me. He taught me the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and engraving. He also gave me a solid understanding of how the gifts and talents of an artist can tap into one’s individual strengths, allowing the artist to explore, express, and document an array of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that may be difficult to put into words. I was fortunate enough to work by his side and I am very grateful for the ingenuity and spirit that was passed from his hands to mine.

In 1987, I was diagnosed with refractory epilepsy as the result of a non-malignant brain tumour. Over time, the seizures dramatically increased in frequency and intensity. The hospital became a second home, and school became more of a torture chamber than a foundation for educational pursuit.

I soon realized that my love for the arts, became a cure for my suffering. As I became more disciplined in my studies of art, I strengthened my ability to map out a composition on paper and canvas. It is there that I developed a diverse avenue of signature artistic styles, such as photo-realism, fantasy art, stippling illustrations, and others.

Throughout this journey, I never underestimated that the only thing getting me through my exhausting battle with epilepsy was my ability to project my emotions into my art. As I continued with critical examination of my craft, I learned that art had been used for centuries as a therapeutic tool, and realised it had become my therapeutic intervention.