Kelli Williams found her passion for photography in the darkroom, but it didn’t end there. “I was bored with just taking a picture and being done with the image,” the newest Animation & Game Arts faculty member said of her shift to what she calls lens-based media. “I learned about stop motion and fell in love with it. It’s a form of photography and a lot of my work still revolves around the image in the camera.”
Williams, a visual and community artist, got her start at Moore as an AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design) Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow—one of 12 selected to teach at participating AICAD institutions during the 2017–2018 academic year. In 2018, after a nationwide search, she was selected to be an assistant professor in Moore’s AGA department—an appointment she was thrilled to receive, given the College’s history and mission of creating career opportunities for women artists.
“I went to an historically black college for undergrad, so an historically all-women’s college resonates with me,” Williams said. “It’s the idea of creative voices for people who have not had as much representation.”
As a digital artist who works across experimental animation, photography, social media and installation, Williams brings her own distinctive lens to the AGA curriculum. “I’m exposing the students to more experimental techniques,” she said. “It challenges them to think differently about how they approach game arts, and I’m able to offer help with their explorations.”
Williams also comes to Moore as a female LGBTQ artist of color, and she is especially interested in encouraging AGA students to become prominent voices in an industry currently grappling with issues of diversity and inclusion.
“A part of my mission, as an artist, is to talk about representation—sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly,” Williams said. “A lot of lessons I teach revolve around women animators critiquing the animation field. Hopefully these students will go out and change it. It’s important that they don’t only enter the industry, but become leaders.”
Among Moore’s rising animators and game designers, as well as students working in Photography & Digital Arts, Illustration and other majors, Williams has already had an impact, and the feeling is mutual.
“If you think about women animators,” she said, “you should be thinking about Moore.”