Hunted and Gathered: When Art and Music Collide
Most people know Senon Williams for his contributions as a bassist to the Cambodian-inspired psychedelic pop band Dengue Fever or from his earlier time in the band Radar Bros. Williams, however, has recently been working on a new visual art project that is set to come out this week.
Fibandacci: Could you introduce yourself please.
Senon Williams: My name is Senon, Senon Williams. I’m the bassist for Dengue Fever. I’m also a visual artist.
Fibandacci: So that was actually my first question. Have you always done visual art or is this something more recent?
Williams: I’ve always been making artwork. I think I had my first art show over ten years ago, but then I didn’t focus on it and about two years ago a friend of mine had seen my work and asked me to do a show and once we picked a date, it was like, “Finally, yes!” I kind of had this creative explosion. Like, um, I think it’s mainly my music is very collaborative and it’s been years since I’ve had a focus that was autonomous. Like all my own. So somehow it’s just like having this like, you know, having something all of my own from the creation to finish was really inspiring. Yeah.
Fibandacci: Speaking about the process, do you think that when you write compositions or songs that the process is different than from when you make your visual art?
Williams: I think the process is different, but my self critique is very similar. The way that I inspire or doubt myself or the way that I critique myself harshly. I think crosses from music to art, but I think the process is a lot different.
Fibandacci: Does it ever feel complimentary? Like working on a song, you’ll be inspired or vice versa?
Williams: I think there’s a need in me to want to put stuff out in the world, but I don’t think - so I think the whole creative aspect to who I am or my soul to whoever I am has to come out in some way, but I don’t think they - that one helps the other.
Fibandacci: So they feel separate.
Williams: They feel separate. I think that when I go into the zone it’s a different part of me that comes out.
Fibandacci: Are there any colors or shades that you find yourself gravitating towards or does that depend on the subject?
Williams: I think Earth tones. Earth tones. A lot of, you know, sunsets. I’m real drawn to sunsets. Sunrises and sunsets, but I think that’s a reflection of the Earth. They could be very vibrant or bright, but you know a simple color palette is kind of where my art lies because it’s too crazy to go too crazy with the colors so I tend to circle back to real simple colors that compliment each other very well.
Fibandacci: Do you think that nature is the inspiration behind your work or is there other things that inspire you?
Williams: I think human nature is a big inspiration. Humanity. It’s one of the largest inspirations I have. I mean, it’s, you know - I’m heavily influenced by current events and what’s going on in the world so when I create my artwork, if you were to pair that with a headline of that day there might be some correlations of where I’m coming from. So I use a lot or words with my imagery and it’s usually about, you know, a lot of humanity’s shortcomings. A lot of humanity’s failures. I think failures without cure. I think we’re flawed and I kind of focus a lot on that in my artwork.
Fibandacci: Are there any artists or styles that influence your work?
Williams: Yeah, but I try to avoid those people because I don’t want to feel like I’m ripping them off. I don’t want to consider my idea irrelevant because it’s already been done, but yeah I’m heavily influenced by a lot of visual artists out there.
Fibandacci: In compiling “Hunted and Gathered,” did you have a hard time selecting different pieces or did you have that theme in mind?
Williams: Well, the book came after most of those works were done. Some of those works, when I was editing the book, I was creating and then I went back and put them in the book, but the book was initially very chronological by how I created it and then I removed pieces that didn’t quite fit into the story or that I didn’t love as much as the other ones because I had to really pair it down. I had, you know, thousands of art works and only a hundred and something are in the book so like I kind of did it chronologically and then I plucked out a bunch of it. It was real quick and real natural and I also worked with a book designer from Green Dragon. A Green Dragon book designer named Lorraine Wild and Marina Mills Kitchen. We played off of each other a lot and kind of figured out the most beautiful way to get the book to flow.
Fibandacci: Do you have a favorite piece that’s featured in the book?
Williams: I have some favorite works in the book. There’s one called Voided and Not Be Hindered. It’s one of my favorite pieces in the book. I really love towards the end The Good News is That I Still Like to Draw and the Latest Book Order Arrived. I like that piece a lot. It’s beautiful. The very first piece in the book Will the Last Two Fight? sums up how I feel about humanity, but all of them I love. Is that weird to love something you made?
Fibandacci: No, I think that’s really good. Yeah. What does “Hunted and Gathered” mean to you and why did you choose that as your title?
Williams: The title just came. I had a few in mind and it was one of them and I made a piece of artwork that’s in the book called Hunted and Gathered and I like just the words alone mean one thing and the words with the images makes those words a lot more cutting and more evil and more dark so I kind of like the pairing of words with images that change the meaning of the words and I like that about the book. Also the book is literally hunted and gathered. That’s like my mind and my thoughts are being hunted and gathered. Yeah, I think it might work as thought based. I think it should be nice to look at it, but I also think that it should just either provoke a thought or come from a - I don’t know it’s more of just quirky things I think.
Fibandacci: So then I guess my last question is, what do you hope people take from your art?
Williams: Well, as I was talking about, thought. Just creates thought. You know, have people contemplate something that someone would do without compassion or empathy. Naturally. Maybe they’d get my book and then look at it and then afterwards go, “You know what? There’s some things that I should think about before I act on.” I just want people to think. To place themselves within a community and think as a community rather than always individually and have some care for a family member or someone you don’t know might be kind of nice. Maybe that can come from the book. Some kind of self reflection.
“Hunted and Gathered” will be on exhibit at Arcana: Book on The Arts on Saturday October 7, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and there will also be a book signing with the artist, Senon Williams, himself.
Find more information about the event here: