Antoine Williams

Antoine Williams
Practicing Artist/ Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Florida

Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Illustration, UNC Charlotte (2003)
Master of Fine Arts, UNC Chapel Hill (2014)

Hometown: Red Springs, NC

Antoine Williams grew up in a small rural community in eastern North Carolina, midway between Fayetteville and Laurinburg. The realities of race and class that he experienced there became the foundation – the bass line – of his work, upon which he builds fantastical imagery and complex mythologies, influenced by the imaginative realms of science fiction and larger-than-life narratives in hip hop.

When Antoine arrived at UNC Charlotte, he found “a diverse range of people and ideals which helped me become a critical thinker and more empathetic,” he says.  Two professors in particular, Jamie Franki and Lili Corbis, played a special role in his education. “They went out of their way as instructors and made art relatable to everyday life.” His undergraduate experience provided “a very sound technical approach to art-making and aesthetics.”

After graduating from UNC Charlotte, Antoine joined fellow art alum John Hairston and two other young Charlotte artists to form the God City Arts Collective, which successfully integrated art and activism in urgent, energetic work that ranged from murals to pop-up shows to rap concerts. Throughout his career, he has cultivated his skills as both an artist and a teacher, exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibitions and serving as an instructor in schools ranging from regional community colleges to UNC Chapel Hill, where he received his MFA.

Antoine participated in the Department of Art & Art History Biennial Alumni Exhibition in Rowe Galleries in Fall 2015 and has exhibited in numerous other places, including the Mint Museum of Art, Michigan State University, Columbia Museum of Art, Smack Mellon Brooklyn, 21c Museum, Elsewhere Museum, the McColl Center of Art + Innovation, and the California Museum of Photography, among other venues. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, The Center for Afrofuturist Studies, Elsewhere Museum, The Hambidge Center, and The McColl Center for Art and Innovation. Williams’ was also a part of the Drawing Center viewing program. He is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Award for Painters and Sculptors, South Arts Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant, the National Academy of Design Abbey Mural Prize and the Harpo Foundation Grant Award.

Most recently, Antoine created Mythic Futures, a series of four Afrofuturist public artworks. Developed in collaboration with The Nicholson Project, the multimedia murals, which combine traditional media with augmented reality, are located in different quadrants of Washington DC.

Antoine is a founding member of the North Carolina Black Artists for Liberation (NCBAFL), a group dedicated to making art institutions in North Carolina more equitable spaces for BIPOC communities. 

He was named the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus in the Department of Art & Art History. See his work at his website.