The Fine Arts Gallery at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jackson County Campus is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit “Where Fashion Illustration Comes to Play: The Paper Doll Art of Tracy Williams.” An opening reception will be held on Thursday, August 24, at 1 p.m., and the exhibit will run through September 22.
Williams said she can’t remember a time when she didn’t love to draw clothes. Some of her earliest drawings –renditions of scenes from the film “Mary Poppins”– spare no detail, especially where the characters’ costumes are concerned. When she figured out that one could get paid to draw for a living, she enrolled in art school and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion illustration. Years later, in graduate school, she rediscovered her love of paper dolls, so much so that she made paper-doll art the focus of her master’s thesis.
“In illustration, the reproduction is the original,” Williams said. “This is the dividing line that sets the work of illustrators apart from that of other artists. An illustrator creates with the reproduction in mind.”
For her, that is what makes viewing original illustrative works interesting. “There are often patches where the illustrator/editor/art director/client made a last-minute change,” she said. “Sometimes there’s activity in the margins: notes, experimentation, evidence of the business of illustration. As a result of current workflows, the original art may look markedly different from the final, printed version, since the final edits happen digitally – ‘in the box’, as I like to call it.”
The work in this exhibit fits into the illustration category. “All of these pieces were researched and created for the paper-doll sets I have designed,” she said. “The starting point for me has always been a fascination with fashion and a desire to document it visually. I love to draw clothes, and I love to research who wore what when and why. It is my hope that this exhibit will reawaken a love of paper dolls for those whose memory of playing with paper dolls is sweet. Additionally, I want to introduce the art and play of paper dolls to those who have not encountered them before.”
Today, Williams is part of the advertising community, coordinating media for one of the Gulf Coast’s largest casinos, and serving on the board of her local American Advertising Federation organization. Her professional history includes designing logos, ads, promotional material and packaging for clients as diverse as JCPenney, Belk, Matco Tools, NAPA Auto Parts, and the Racine Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. She is a five-time winner of the American Advertising Award (ADDY Award) for illustration and design.
The MGCCC Fine Arts Gallery hours are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Marc Poole at 228-497-7684.