P. Emerson Williams Interview – As If Magazine (1992)


Interview with P. Emerson WIlliams
by Clint Catalyst
for As If Magazine

AS IF: In which media forms do you create?

EMERSON: I work with everything I can get my hands on.  I make sculptures of wood that are kind of like altarpieces, sick things made with glue and foamcore and I paint with all possible paints on all possible surfaces.  I am always draggin home new instruments and recoding toys.

AS IF: How would you describe your artwork?  Would you classify your artwork in a particular genre?

EMERSON: I try to document that which is seen in the corner of one’s eye at those moments when one’s guard is down, and the corner of the veil is momentarily lifted.  I contemplate the moments between the point when life collapses back onto itself and flowers forth again from its own rot.  I’m not claiming that I capture these things, but that is what I am aiming for.  I have most affinity with late gothic art represented in artist like Altbrecht Duer, Hans Baldung, and Hieronymous Bosch, and the surrealist, most notably Dali and Max Ernst.  What my work fits into I honestly couldn’t say.

AS IF: How would you never want your artwork to be described?

EMERSON: I’d hate to be considered interchangeable with anyone else, no matter how good the other artist might be.  Should the epithet “new Agey” become fair charge, I’d have to pack it in.

AS IF: What drives you to create?

EMERSON: A spiritual obsession that will not let me relax.  A need to develop a world in harmony with an aesthetic longing I’ve always felt.  Creating art, music, or poetry induces a trance-like state that lets me forget the blasphemous existence of the average that are cancerous tissue of society.

AS IF: Is visual art the most effective medium for you to communicate your ideas?

EMERSON: The answer to that would be different each time you asked me.  Some days the demons lure me to my cello, other days to the typewriter or the paintbrushes.  They are not easily ordered about.

AS IF: What projects are you currently working on?

EMERSON: I finished a giant mural for the FRanklin Park Zoo here in Boston.  I want to make an entire room into a tropical rain forest, which provided endless possibilities in bottomless darkness and contrasting light.  They might have more for me to do.  One project I’m immensely excited about is “Concupiscence”, the gothic erotica being put out by Nosferatu Productions.  The sexual element that is always beneath the surface in my work is being brought to the fore, and becoming something I’d like to continue to work with.  The cover of the up coming Veil Of Thorns CD shall feature one of my paintings, something I rarely have the opportunity to see in print.

AS IF: Who are your influences?

EMERSON: I am greatly influenced by the imagery dealt with in the writings of Crowley and Poe.  The very existence of Rozz Williams inspires me.  My visual art draws what I read and the music I listen to than other artist.  Everything I see and hear is going to influence me somehow.  I try to approach everything so the medium is noticed less than what it is made into.  I don’t want people thinking of my command, technique, or lack therof.

AS IF: What are your favorite publications?

EMERSON: Phantazmagoria, Esoterra, Ghastly, and The Fifth Path come immediately to mind.  Lake’s creations are consistently breathtaking pieces of art.  There are more amazing zines than I could list, or even afford these days.

AS IF: Have you ever hard any unusual experiences with admirers of your artwork?

EMERSON: I did have this one girl telling everyone she was supporting me financially, neither of which was the case.  Because she bought a couple of paintings she thought she owned me and meddled with my relationships and stalked my friends for years.  She finally married and alleged warlock who looks like an Allman brother and now leaves me alone.  Other than her, everybody I’ve met through my work has been really cool.

AS IF: What is your ultimate goal or dream?

EMERSON: I want to earn lots of money and buy a mansion with expansive ground in which I can live with a community of artists, poets, musicians, and magical adepts.

AS IF: Closing comments?

EMERSON: Stay Tuned.