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From High School Project to Artistic Career: Zay's Journey

Zay Williams
Marc Zyla
Zay Williams

In this episode, we are joined by Zay Williams, an artist from Rock Island, Illinois. Zay discusses his passion for hosting "Paint Night" events, where people can come together to engage in art and express themselves creatively. He believes that these events not only provide a fun and social experience, but also serve as a therapeutic outlet for individuals dealing with anxiety and depression.

Zay shares his journey into the world of art, which began in high school with a portrait project that ignited his passion. He went on to take art classes at Black Hawk College and experimented with various mediums, eventually finding his artistic style through inspiration from other artists on social media. Zay's style is a blend of pop culture, music, and his own unique vision, allowing him to create art that is not confined to a specific theme.

The podcast also delves into Zay's involvement in teaching a sneaker customization class with Spring Forward Learning Center. He encouraged middle school students to express themselves creatively by designing their own unique sneakers. Zay has a personal passion for sneaker art and explains the process of transforming shoes into works of art using various techniques.

Zay also shares his experiences in the sneaker art community, including a competition hosted by renowned artist "Shoesurgeon". Although he didn't win, Zay gained valuable insights and connections within the industry. He was also recently selected to showcase his art at a fashion show event in Atlanta hosted by artist Brionya James, which he describes as an incredible opportunity for inspiration and exposure.

Throughout the episode, Zay reflects on the Quad Cities art scene and the positive shift he has observed in recent years. He highlights the emergence of young, diverse artists who are creating new platforms to uplift the local art community. Zay himself has participated in mural projects and hosted his own art shows to support fellow Quad Cities artists.

To stay connected with Zay's artistic endeavors and to discover more about the local art scene, he encourages listeners to follow him on social media. He also gives shoutouts to other local artists and creative initiatives that he is involved with, such as Aubrey Barnes' poetry events and various Quad City Arts programs.

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Marc Zyla joined WVIK, Quad Cities NPR in May 2022 as the Director of Community Engagement. Prior to that Zyla had been the Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, where he continues to perform as Principal Horn. Zyla believes that there is something for everyone in public radio and brings passion and creativity to his position as Director of Community Engagement.