Jetta Williams

Jetta Williams—ArtAscent Bronze Artist of the 2024 Future call for artists.

When we look at kids, we see the Future in the making. And we have the power and responsibility to help that future grow to its full potential. Jetta Williams seeks to create inspiring images to visualize this concept.

A cherishing attitude toward childhood is a relatively recent phenomenon, while children were the most unprotected and vulnerable part of humanity for most of our history. In the best-case scenario, they were viewed as miniature adults, expected to contribute to family labour or adhere strictly to societal norms without consideration for their developmental needs or rights. It wasn’t before the Enlightenment that significant changes began to evolve. Until the mideighteenth century, the depiction of children was shaped by the stereotype of incomplete, imperfect small adults requiring discipline, later replaced by the viewpoint of childhood as innocence and playfulness. This resulted in countless romanticized and tender portraits of kids that prevail even today.

But in her works, Jetta steps away from the sentimental perception of the subject. The featured pieces are from the series Superhero. As the artist comments, the idea behind the series is “To show the strength that each child has and their innocence, yet they have such potential as they develop and grow into the superhero they can be. We can make or break those little dreams and how they develop simply by words and actions.” Jetta’s personages are confident and empowered, lacking the infantility and submissiveness of traditional images. The reference to the popular culture characters helps her model the opportunities of their upcoming life, and the intensive colouring supports the characters’ vitality.

The artist freely navigates between different media in her practice, with pastels being her primary tool. For these portraits, she combined them with wooden panels, which allowed her to create a contrast between the smoothness of the pastel work and the uneven surface of the panels. Drawing inspiration from the meticulous realism of renowned portraitists like Burton Silverman, Jetta imbues her subjects with a dynamic energy, reflecting the vibrancy and potentiality inherent in every child.

Jetta Williams is a self-taught artist based in Kelowna, BC, whose creative journey began under the guidance of her high school art teacher in 1984. After winning an art competition during her university years, she invested her prize money into furthering her artistic skills. While raising her children, Jetta paused her artistic endeavours but resumed her passion in 2010, delving into forensic art and portraiture. From 2012-2015, Jetta worked as a forensic artist. She became a Federation of Canadian Artists member in 2015, further solidifying her commitment to her craft. Jetta’s artistry spans various mediums, including pastels, oils, and acrylics, with a preference for capturing the human appearance. She has drawn in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Prince Rupert, BC, and Iqaluit, Nunavut, and currently lives and draws in Kelowna, BC. She is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (Central Okanagan Chapter), the Kelowna Palette Club, and the Kelowna Painters Studio

Jetta Williams is the Bronze Artist of the ArtAscent Future call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Future issue.

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