Posts in Family
My Other Half - Meet James

My husband, James and I were asked to be in a video for Paige, a denim and clothing brand based in LA. If you didn’t know from seeing us on Instagram, James and I work together to run Lauren Williams® ART. As a couple who works together behind the camera showcasing my art, being on camera for this project was a role reversal for the both of us! I thought it would be a great opportunity after releasing the Paige video, to share more about the man who understands me, supports me and inspires me. I asked James to share his perspective on what it is like to be married to an artist and work with your spouse. Take it away, Babe

Hi there!  I’m James and I’m the other half of Lauren Williams® Art. I run the day to day business operations, including vendor relations, accounting, special contracts, project collaborations, invoicing and payroll, as well as being the liaison with designers and art advisors on commissioned works. I also handle the video content you see on YouTube, Instagram and the website. I manage the transportation and freight for Lauren’s large-scale works, and overseas shipments, too.  There are a hundred other things that Lauren and I juggle to run the business, but these are the main things that I take care of so that Lauren can really be focused on creating.

I hear it all the time from guys who say that they could never work with their wife and I understand where that comes from, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the third business that we have built and run together, not counting our family of 5, with 3 boys we created and raise together! I think it’s very special for our boys to see us working together and building something using our talents.  Working to support a family takes a lot of time, so why not spend that time with the one you love, if you have the opportunity? I think it’s important however to do something you both love. It can’t be something only one loves and the other likes. You both need to be committed to it and feel equally invested so that you respect and treat each other as equals. I don’t believe in a “work/life balance” when it is your own business. We live and breathe the business and all that it takes to keep it running. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week thing. Being intentional about time to focus on each other is crucial though. That and a lot of prayer!

It can be challenging, at times to be married to an artist. Lauren is very creative and often has a thousand things running through her head related to new projects, current projects, upcoming commissions, ideas for a new pieces and business to-do’s, on top of being a mom. Respecting her way of processing while also reminding her to take a break and look at what is going on around us, can be difficult. I think my past experience truly prepared me to be the perfect partner for Lauren.

I’m from the East Coast by way of Santa Fe, NM. I lived in Santa Fe during my teenage years and was constantly surrounded by art. I attended a small private school, with only 27 people in my graduating class. We had an entire building that was dedicated to art classes. We studied everything from pottery to painting and photography. I was surrounded by friends who were amazing artists and witnessed them create, and what the creative process for an artist looks like, including excitement and frustration to doubt and creative blocks. One of my best friend’s father was an art dealer and opened my eyes to the business side of the art world.  I watched him trade a painting for a home once! Mind was blown! The homes I hung out in had original works by artists like Georgia O’Keefe and Picasso, I even helped install a George Rickey sculpture. This lifestyle shaped my love for all things art.

I became enamored by the art business and I wanted to be an art dealer. I continued my education at the University of New Mexico and studied art history. After a couple of years sitting in classrooms looking at art, I decided to mix it up and move to Los Angeles.  After a year or so of “discovering” myself I landed a PA job on a movie set and instantly fell in love with this process.

Being paid to watch and observe people making art, this time in a collaborative way I hadn’t seen before, was life changing for me.  I worked my way up the production ladder, from getting coffee to working as an assistant for the late Mike Nichols on the movie “Angels in America”. I produced TV series for Mark Burnett, on shows like “The Apprentice”. Later I began executive producing commercials with advertising agencies and eventually landed as the VP of Production at a studio in LA. I have also worked as a Director on various projects throughout my career.

I think to be in film and television you have to love to create and be willing to help others create. As a producer, I learned what it meant to support and work with directors to bring their vision to life and especially how important the director-producer relationship is. There needs to be complete trust to benefit the process. As a director, I value the input of others and thrive on the collaboration with a DP, producer or costume designer.  Ultimately It’s all about people working together to bring a vision to life.

Through my art-filled childhood and my career as a Producer/Director, I have learned that artists struggle, whether an actor, musician or painter. Artists are their toughest critics.  I’ve learned to allow them to work through their own process and know when to help and when to let them work through it on their own. When Lauren decides to take on a commission, I have to prepare her for the creative journey in order to complete the piece. From excitement, to frustration and doubt, to exhaustion and impatience and finally acceptance and pride, the emotions that Lauren goes through as an artist are high. It can easily affect the business and our relationship if we aren’t prepared spiritually and emotionally. There are times when I see she is creatively frustrated and needs to walk away from a piece for a few days. I encourage her to get a manicure or spend time with our boys. One time she was so discouraged with a giant commission with a tight timeline, that she told me she was quitting and that I needed to finish it for her! I took that as the cue to start making her favorite watermelon margarita and call it a day.

Working together as a couple is an incredible opportunity, but it certainly comes with its challenges.  I think the business has actually strengthened our relationship because it forces us to communicate and listen, even when we don’t want to. I couldn’t have been given a better partner to be married to or be the mother to our three boys.  God had us planned for each other. On a lighter side it also means our house is constantly rotating furniture and art on the walls, so I feel as though I am living in a working gallery. Seems as though things have come full circle, right?

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Thank you for reading and learning more about our relationship and how we operate together as a couple and business owners. You can follow James on Instagram at @jwill.iams

We loved creating the video for Paige and are so excited to have some beautiful moments of our life documented in their short film. Thank you to Paige for including us in this project! Thank you to our friend, Brandon Zebell for his talents in filming and editing. Thank you also to photographer Dave Puente for the awesome images.

Brandon Zebell’s website: https://www.brandonzebell.com
Dave Puente’s website: https://www.davepuente.com

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Client Spotlight: Cheyenne & Holden's Nursery Project
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I absolutely love to meet and hear about my client's and how they utilize my work in their homes. Cheyenne recently purchased the "Zen" tapestry (size small, 36" across, hangs 48" long) to compliment their nursery project and I thought it would be fun to have a little spotlight Q&A with her and her husband. They just welcomed their son Hendrix and invited a friend of mine, photographer Adrian Faubel for a newborn photoshoot.  Check it all out below!

Cheyenne, thanks so much for sharing with me and my readers! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family! 

We've been together for five years, married just over two and just welcomed a baby boy into our lives. Each epic moment in our relationship was marked with a different destination — started dating in Austin, got engaged in Montauk, married in San Miguel de Allende, pregnant in either Tahoe or Santa Fe (who really knows?) Travel is a big part of who we are and what we want to foster in our family. Adventure makes you get outside yourself and learn something new. 

Where's home for you?

Dallas has always been home to Holden and became home to me in 2006. We live in the heart of the city off Henderson and Lower Greenville. We love the energy and walk-ability of our neighborhood, we also love the eclectic crowd that it attracts. We hope to always be in an urban city as we're anything but home bodies. 

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

Modern, but comfortable. We love minimalism, clean lines, bright whites with touches of mid-century modern and southwestern chic. Our home is full of neutral furniture so that the art and textiles can bring life into our space.

What drew you to choose the Zen tapestry design? 

I loved the versatility of it. It's clean with a bold visual that worked well with our black and white Moroccan nursery theme. Then once our son outgrows it we can hang it anywhere within our home and it would vibe with our style.

I love that! How did you utilize it in the nursery? 

 It's the focal point of our nursery hanging just above our crib.

Were you happy with how it turned out? 

Elated! It makes for the perfect statement piece. We wanted his room to be zen and less "nursery-like", so having this wall hanging helped give it some maturity. 

I'm so excited to hear that! Are there any other home projects in your future?

We have several! Next up is a big outdoor project, but then we want to focus on having a big open indoor space for entertaining large parties. We want people to feel relaxed when they come over - so lots of natural light, comfortable seating, greenery and thought-provoking art. 

What a gorgeous family and sweet nursery- Thank you so much to Cheyenne and Holden for sharing these beautiful images with us!

Check out even more adorable photos from this shoot by Adrian Faubel (www.adrianfaubelphoto.com) below: 



 

How it all started: discovering Canvas with Movement

Canvas With Movement is how I described my first fiber art creation once it was dry and hanging on the wall of our rental home, in September of 2014. After making a wall hanging specifically for the large wall in my dining room, I was hooked. But there is so much more to this story. The first piece eventually lead to a new form of fiber art that is finding its way into homes, restaurants and hotels all around the world and it all started with a blank wall.

In 2014, our family of four moved into a cute rental house in Dallas, Texas. Big windows let in the best natural light and I knew the original wood floors were going to look stunning once I repainted the pale green walls white. The mature hydrangea bushes and tall trees that filled the lot, provided a very charming place that we would call home, at least the term of our 12-month lease. 

My husband and I are entrepreneurs, and growing a small business while also growing our family, has had its financial struggles. We moved several times since getting married and I was no stranger to rearranging our hand-me-down furniture and thrifted couches to fit in various apartments and rental homes to create a space that I was proud of. From a Los Angeles apartment to a Dallas rental house, we found ourselves with more space to work with, however two boys under the age of 4 made every square foot of our home very valuable.  

My visions of decorating each new rental always faded quickly among the piles of dinosaurs, Legos, balls and toy trucks, but the one thing I couldn’t ignore were the empty walls. Because my taste for art and my budget for art didn't really align, I took it upon myself to paint small canvases, incorporate thrift store art and frame photos of our boys to fill any voids. The wide open living room that joined the dining room in our newest rental however, had a wall that was begging for a statement piece. 

There was a day in September when I walked past the wall and the windows were allowing the best natural light to fill the room and it hit me- I knew exactly what the wall needed. It needed texture. Dimension. Substance. Movement. And it needed to be big. Immediately I had this idea of suspending individual strands of something (Fabric? Strips of material? A Textile?) to a wooden dowel to create a sort of canvas, but with texture, movement and dimension. I spent the next day wandering the aisles of a craft store and then a hardware store for supplies. I came up with something that I couldn’t wait to work on. 

That Friday, after putting the boys to bed, I stayed up late cutting yarn and attaching each piece to a long wooden dowel. My husband gave me a curious side-eye during the movie we watched as I worked to bring my vision to life. The next morning was warm and the kids played outside while I rested my new “canvas” between two Ikea storage shelves so that I could add color to the hanging strands of yarn. I was familiar with paint, but had never used liquid dyes to create a design. I started simple and added a layer of gray dye, then navy in the center and an aqua green color for the sides. 

It was windy and the strands were flying everywhere splattering me with dye but once the sun dried the hanging fibers, I brought the piece inside and used thumb tacks to hang it on our dining room wall. I stood back and eyed my creation. 

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It was interesting. It added texture and a unique look to my basic dining room. It felt warm and inviting. I couldn’t stop looking at the way the dye layers faded into each other so effortlessly, creating a peaceful and organic feel. From the wooden dowel at the top, the fibers hung down at various lengths and the line that the strands created at the bottom of the piece was unstructured and so natural. With an overall dimension of 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall, this was a large statement piece that was unlike anything I had ever seen. 

My husband, an art lover himself, came to see my work and he was intrigued. He was immediately drawn to the movement of the strands as I "combed” my fingers through to untwist groups of strands to lay them flat on the wall. Individually James and I are very particular about our taste and styles, and I knew that if we could agree on a single piece of art, I was on to something. 

His complements began and he wanted to me to make another one for our bedroom. I was flattered and excited that he appreciated my vision. I felt that this addition to our plain dining room had suddenly opened a door of creativity that was just waiting to be explored. I decided to build another “canvas with movement” piece and thousands of tapestries later I am so grateful for that big, white, plain wall and often find myself searching for more blank walls to be inspired by.  

Check out my most recent collection of tapestries here