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Zombies, Pinups And Punk Rock: How Robert Williams Made It In Academic Art World

Robert Williams
(Photo courtesy of Robert Williams)
Robert Williams poses with one of his large-scale sculptures, "The Rapacious Wheel."

The Mesa Arts Center’s new season starts today, and they’re kicking it off with a show that celebrates "The Good, the Bad and the Weird."

The centerpiece of this is a show from the venerable Robert Williams, the godfather of low-brow and pop surrealist art. He’s the founder of JUXTAPOZ magazine. You might know his work from the rather famous cover of Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction” album.

Williams is a draftsman and self-proclaimed conceptual realist who's spent his career bringing hot rod culture, comics, graffiti, and tattoo art onto gallery walls.

But he’s not out to decorate — in fact, he told me his work is a feral form of art that can’t be contained.

I met Williams outside of the Mesa Art Center in our Soundbite Mobile Production unit to talk about how he fought to make it in the academic art world with a roster of zombie mystery paintings, pinups and punk rock.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.