2021 Grad Show

Laura Williams

Painting

My work has typically blended social and fantastical ideas and in this recent work it’s community and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). The two main ideas are the interactivity that comes with worldbuilding for role-playing games, and the second is these fantasy spaces as backdrops for collaborative storytelling. Made from an amalgamation of several high fantasy media sources, namely through concept art from film and TV, these worlds that I make are created for travellers to adventure through and live in. The most basic premise of D&D is this feeling that you can do anything and go anywhere and explore those places with your friends. I’ve been trying to abstract these ideas and make the setting the focus as opposed to the characters which is more typical of D&D illustration.
My use of watercolour supports this premise as, in many ways, it mimics worldbuilding. Both are very amorphous at times, only specifying the particulars that would be described: the empty potion bottle, the house in the woods. I’m aiming more to give impressions of the environment as I would describe them in actual play as opposed to a very concrete world view. By its nature, watercolour also gives an idea of intimacy. In dealing with spaces, I’ve begun looking more at my use of negative and positive space (influenced by ukiyo-e) and from there imparting detail and importance on the parts of the image that really matter. Level of detail brings to mind labour and time spent in the area, especially with watercolour and pencil, which returns to the intimacy notion.

World in Progress

This series was the culmination of a lot of investigations into the world-building side of fantasy role-playing games. I was thinking a lot about how I create worlds and settings for other people to explore, and these three major works are what came out of that research. In these pieces I also became influenced by the segmentation and use of negative space in Japanese wood block prints (ukiyo-e) as well as fantasy film concept art which somewhat explains the switch to landscape from previous work of mine.

Grimms' Fairy Tales (section two)

For a while now, I have wanted to intervene in a book. A lot of my work recently has been surrounding this idea of memory and how my work changes not only through time (obviously) but also through where I physically am. Being from BC, when I would go home for summers or winter break, what I would make would differ so wildly from what I made while here in Calgary, at school. I noticed this pattern and began reflecting on it as I was starting to pack to move back to BC permanently following my degree's completion. It all really culminated when I found this old book of Grimms' Fairy Tales and just really started thinking about and trying to put myself in the creative headspace of myself in those summers in BC. (this work is ongoing)

Grimms' Fairy Tales (section one)

For a while now, I have wanted to intervene in a book. A lot of my work recently has been surrounding this idea of memory and how my work changes not only through time (obviously) but also through where I physically am. Being from BC, when I would go home for summers or winter break, what I would make would differ so wildly from what I made while here in Calgary, at school. I noticed this pattern and began reflecting on it as I was starting to pack to move back to BC permanently following my degree's completion. It all really culminated when I found this old book of Grimms' Fairy Tales and just really started thinking about and trying to put myself in the creative headspace of myself in those summers in BC. (this work is ongoing)