My name is Tracy Williams and I'm from California. I jumped on a plane to Utah to pursue my passion for the arts and my goal is to paint the city! Welcome to my artsy world.
Strong Women of Utah Campaign 2018 | Photo credit: Nicole Santos | #strongwomenUT
Committed to 3C’s: Culture, Community & Children
CULTURE I am committed to preserving traditional Pacific Island culture through art. Every culture has unique values and traditional practices. I am still learning of my Polynesian heritage and it's traditions. Coming from a mixed and rich cultural background of Tongan, Raro Tongan/Cook Island and British descent, I struggled with identity crisis as a kid and never felt “enough”. That all changed, when I picked up a crayon and a piece of paper and began drawing. I wanted to create something that would help me feel connected to my ancestors because I admired their work ethic and legacy. My ancestors were fearless whalers in the whaling business and hardworking farmers in Tonga. I am determined to carry on their work ethic. Art allows me to hold onto my ancestors' stories while sharing their experiences and creating a legacy of my own. I am a first generation Tongan American and it is important for me to know my history and where I came from because that is a part of who I am. Art is the glue that keeps me connected with my relatives that have passed away.
COMMUNITY I am committed to paying it forward Living in Southern California, I didn't see Pacific Island art in museums or in public spaces. We weren't represented in those areas and that bothered me. I didn't see Polynesian artists in the arts industry as well, other than in a few tattoo shops or garages and because I didn't see a piece of "me" in my community, I chose to maneuver my way into areas and events to learn of resources that would allow me to create art in those spaces. Being a self-taught artist, I had to find ways to learn the structure of how artists are selected for public art opportunities, grant-writing and the proper channels to host art events because I didn't receive any educational guidance for it and I had no role model to look up to in that industry. So I became it. I became what I needed. I am a life-long student and am constantly seeking ways to improve my craft and to learn of more resources that can support me as a growing artist, while making an impact in society. It is my responsibility, as a community member to share these resources with others, so that we can all grow together.
SLC launches 'The Blocks' initiative to promote arts and culture downtown
CHILDREN I am committed to sharing art resources with children My Aunty Salina saw my passion for the arts at an early age and encouraged me to draw. She suggested that I ought to put my artwork on clothing and walls. At the time, I doubted myself and said, “really? You think so?!” She enthusiastically responded “why not!” More than 25 years have passed and she continues to respond with the same enthusiastic response ‘why not!’. I want to do that for other children too, especially for kids in under-served communities. I am the first generation born in America and I grew up with no art supplies and used newspaper scraps and q-tips for paintbrushes. Lack of art resources excited my creative mind. It forced me to think ‘outside of the box’ and to challenge art uses and techniques and create my own techniques. I have not put down my paint brush since then.