We had the good fortune of connecting with Scratch Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Scratch, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Well, I’ve had an interest in art history and expression since i was young, but before I wanted to be a painter, I had my mind set on becoming a teacher. After becoming loosely familiar with various portions of the subject of art, I decided it would be fun to give the actual act of creation a try. It took years of mediocrity and frustration, but eventually I became so involved in making art that I decided to change my goal, although I still think it would be an amazing opportunity to teach others the subject. My mother was another important factor in that decision. She was always very encouraging of my goals, though she imagined I would take a more practical route through either graphic design or marketing. Ultimately, I chose to pursue a career in art because of my upbringing: I was raised in a very religious household, and while I later rejected the notion of organized religion, I have found that there are many parallels between religion and artistic expression, and treating that expression as a spiritual practice has become the most fulfilling aspect of my life. So, I guess I chose art in order to grow, and to ultimately become more content with my own life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Generally speaking, overcoming my own self through constant practice keeps me most busy, though it can also keep me not so busy. It varies week to week. I believe that it is an important factor in my continued development as an artist, and I am definitely proud of that, particularly because there was a long period where I did not enjoy the work I was producing. I was unwilling to look past my own mediocrity, which allowed me to develop technique instead of style, and that has been an amazing factor in the evolution of my process. Getting to that point was by no means simple, as it required me to ignore the praise of others, and to be brutally honest with myself, often to a frustrating extent. Like any other skill, it requires determined refining, which can be as stressful as it is rewarding. Through that determination, I learned the value of patience, which was a particularly painful challenge for me, as I am an incredibly impatient person. However, exercising that patience, whether it means waiting for the perfect reference image, or taking a break from a piece to let it breathe, or even abandoning a piece entirely, is arguably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned through artistic expression.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In all honesty, I don’t think I’m that fun of a person, as far as going out is concerned, and given the current state of things, I’d most likely recommend a good anime and order some Pho, or perhaps some Oysters. Actually, scratch that: I’d definitely go out for some Oysters. There’s a few great little pizza places that I might recommend visiting, specifically the ones that double as a liquor store. Also Halal or Tacos, depending on the city. I enjoy staying at home, which for some isn’t that exciting, but I’ve never really minded. Worst case, a good walk always helps me clear my mind and maybe stumble upon a new book store or diner. I love diners. When it comes to being social, i generally defer to my friends decisions on super social outings, otherwise I just get quiet and uncomfortable. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are several people who deserve recognition for shaping me into the person I am today, but my Mother deserves the first spotlight in that regard. Even though we don’t always see eye to eye, she has always supported me and pushed me to pursue what I am passionate about, regardless of her biases. Love you Mom. Makenna, my Fiancé and best friend, has been a constant source of motivation and harsh but necessary truths. I honestly cannot imagine I would be where I am today without her constant assistance and constructive criticism. Also, she’s like, super hot. My family (the insanely talented “Highest Basement Collective”) has also helped me truly realize how much this pursuit means to me, and has always pushed me to continue that path. Riley (aka Reno Casino) has always been an amazing friend and motivator, as he himself is incredibly motivated. IHATEYOUSHEED (aka Sheedi Hendrix) helped introduce me to the Philly creative scene and has consistently pushed and supported me, and for that I am so grateful. Tawobi (aka Wobi Wobbles) never misses an opportunity to challenge my perspectives and help me think outside of the box, plus he’s always given me exquisite television and movie suggestions. Moses Mosima (aka Moses Mimosa) helped show me the value of versatility, as well as the power of revision and attempting new ideas. Lord Trippy (aka Quise Trill) gets me out of my comfort zone like no other, and has allowed me to feel valued for being myself. We might not always agree on things, but he’s an amazing friend and rager nonetheless. I’d also like to shoutout the phenomenal Lesly, creator of the Philly brand TORTURE, who has shown me so much love and respect since I began designing with him. He is one of the most amazing collaborators I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Last but certainly not least, my Manager Jess, who has an amazing eye for art, and has helped me realize ways of reworking my own art into something I am very proud of. her advice and discussions have helped me grow exponentially as a creative, and I am so excited for what comes next.