Kelli Williams is an animator, visual artist, and community artist. In her personal work she uses stop-motion animation, photography, installation, and humor to create work that comments on society through the lens of social media and technology. She is an alumna of Morgan State University where she majored in Fine Art, with a concentration in photography. She received her Masters of Fine Arts from Columbus College of Art in Design. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Columbus Live, Hyperallergic, Artnet, Baltimore magazine, and Netflix’s Cops and Robbers.
Tell us about the type of work you do.
I am an artist who works with lens based in media, primarily photography and stop motion animation. A lot of my work comments on society through the lens of social media. I often like to use humor in my work as well. I create work that is usually displayed in the gallery setting and short films.
Walk us through a typical day for you.
I don’t know how to pinpoint what a typical work day looks like for me because the day always looks a little different. I do pretty much all of my production on my work including the animating, set building, puppet fabrication, and post production. That is one reason why I really like stop motion animation. It allows me to use a plethora or skills to complete the project.
What does your studio/work space look like?
I produce all of my animations inside of my home. I have a small Office/Studio space that I share and often have to commandeer other spaces in my home when I’m working with larger sets. Part of the fun while working is figuring out the best way to shoot my animations. My last project I had to set up one set in my spare bathroom! One really important part of set building for me is sourcing interesting materials and textures. I have a closet full of sourced materials from past and future projects.
What are your biggest obstacles in being creative every day, and how do you overcome them?
One of the biggest obstacles is finding time and motivation to produce work. Animation is very time-consuming so I usually have to dedicate a large chunk of time to complete anything. The best way I overcome this is by setting hard deadlines for myself. Having a grant or show deadline means I have to do the work and I work well under pressure. Another way I have also allowed myself to finish projects is to work in shorter forms of animation like short looping animated portraits.
How does Philadelphia influence your creativity?
Philadelphia is a gorgeous city and it has a very vibrant art scene. I am always so inspired when I go to the art shows around town. The murals and public art has also reignited my interest in community and public art. There are some really interesting things that are happening with augmented reality and murals that I would love to get involved with in the future.
What woman/women are you most influenced by?
Two of the women and non binary people that I am influenced by is Janelle Monae and Ava DuVernay. I really love the way that Janelle Monae infuses activism and storytelling into music. I am really inspired by the ways that Ava DuVernay tells story and her beautiful cinematography in her films. These are two people that I really feel are making amazing and important content in mass media today.