Aeryk Williams

Aeryk Williams exhibited photographs from his book “That’s Them, That’s Us” at the Orlando Museum of Art at the age of 20. He has since shown work at major art fairs and exhibitions across the country and his work was documented by Houston channel 11 CBS at Kashmere Gardens Elementary School art project and Houston First International Fine Art Fair. Williams is in the process of documenting his life as a reality movie titled “Art is Entertainment, Entertainment is Art.” You can visit his website at 


How do you identify yourself as an artist?
I’m a conceptual artist and I express my creativity in a diverse range of mediums including painting, photography, film and street art.

What is your relationship to libraries?

The relationship I have with libraries has always been my immense curiosity with the world around me. I believe books are filled with answers and I love asking questions. Libraries are equipped with many resources and I try to use them to my advantage as much as possible.

Have libraries informed or inspired your work? How?

Libraries are the backbone of my entire artistic catalogue. My book “That’s Them, That’s Us,” wouldn’t have come to fruition if I didn’t have libraries at my disposal. I was raised not to let history be a mystery because our past shapes our present and our present shapes our future. The amount of knowledge I have acquired through the use of libraries has helped me create work that I hope will stand the test of time.

Why did you decide to include libraries in your creative process?

"Dead King" by Aeryk Williams

My creative process is simply a natural progression of thought turned into action. Libraries supply me with access to archival materials and the chance to research endlessly which has allowed me to think without boundaries.

What can libraries do to serve artists?

Libraries are full of books that inform, inspire and influence. To better serve artist, I think having 24-hour access would be amazing.  Our creative nature can be sporadic so it would be cool to know that you have a ton of information and materials related to your ideas always available at any time.

As an artist, what would your ideal library look like?

A contemporary designed community center full of art because images bring people together. My ideal library would be massive with countless aisles filled with people holding baskets full of books. It is critical to recognize the times and how people rarely read a book and would they rather tweet. So my library would be interactive and open to everyone and they would receive access to everything.

What specific libraries have played a role in your work? Are there things that stand out to you about these libraries?

Houston Public Library has played a major role in my work. The best thing about it was its location; it gave me a reason to go downtown and see things I normally wouldn’t. The collection of books they have is vast and I remember checking out up to 20 books at a time. Also, New York Public Library– the sheer size of it evoked all types of emotions inside of me.

"America" by Aeryk Williams

What resources do you use in your library(s)?

Libraries offer more than just books, but that is my main focus. Sometimes I look into magazines and check out DVDs and CDs. Actually, the reason I heard Andy Warhol’s “Velvet Underground & Nico” was because I found it in a local library.

How do you find out about events or resources at your library(s)?

Mostly through posters they have hanging. I always look at the news boards before I leave just to stay up to date with happenings.

What does the phrase “library as incubator” mean to you?

It’s dope. A library is full of information and incubator means to encourage new ideas. It just goes together.  Whoever came up with it is not only clever, but also very smart.


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