feature: afropunks of the carolinas – explore commentary visual art by antoine williams

June 17, 2015

Antoine Williams’ art is doing exactly what he created it to do. He creates it to send a message that begs viewers to question. Question the status quo, question societal ideals, and even question the artist. Williams honed his skills as a visual creative through the UNC higher education system with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from UNC Charlotte and a Masters in Fine Arts from UNC Chapel Hill.

By Kia O. Moore, AFROPUNK Contributor

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The juxtaposition of familiar hip-hop fashion artifacts blended with found objects and animals forces art patrons to ask questions and make statements such as:

What is this artist trying to say?

Why exactly did he place this image with that object?

This is what this piece means to me….

his art conveys…. And speaks to how society…

Antoine Williams’ artwork has been making its rounds through the North Carolina higher education gallery circuit from 2008-present day. Williams work has not only evoked thought in the world of higher education, he has also loaned his talents to various community art projects and community art collectives over the years.

The Ain’t Gots, 2014


From the galleries of his alma maters UNC Charlotte & UNC Chapel Hill to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, a key cultural destination in Charlotte’s uptown art campus, Williams visual commentary can be found.  

As he has shifted from the role of art student to that of art educator, Williams has moved away from forcing his pieces to portray extremely clear and direct messages. He now finds the beauty in creating pieces and installations that evoke conundrums and conversations among patrons and fellow artists. The goal of his pieces are to ride between the world of street art and academia. A sort of “mixtapes and mixed media philosophy” as Williams describes it.

In the installation collection shown below, Williams juxtaposes dark hoodies and sagging trousers with animal parts from roosters, hogs, and bulls. The oddly paired ink and wheat-paste images are then strategically adorned with found objects that range from flowers to old tires. Each image and object symbolize a popular phrase in “black slang”. Bulls serving as symbols of masculinity, flowers symbolizing femininity and death, dogs to symbolizing loyalty connected to the phrase “my dog,” and even more. However, finding the meaning and the questions  is up to the viewer.

View the images below to start your exploration into artist Antoine Williams’’ visual commentary through his installation pieces.


The Ain’t Gots, 2014

Then Ima get some cut up, 2014

Hold up, hold up, 2014

​cloud killers, 2014


To see more of his work, add a piece to your art collection, or bring an Antoine Williams exhibition to your city, visit his website  

* Continue the conversation with AFROPUNK Contributor Kia O. Moore on Twitter @KiaTheWriter