Sugar:: Carl Joe Williams

Carl Joe Williams, Gratitude with 808s # 1 , 2021 Video Collage With Original Music by Carl Joe Williams vocals by Neesa L. Johnson,CHC

Soul Euphoric , formerly a music label from my early days as a musician/producer/beat maker, is now a YouTube channel that is focused on creating musical meditations that are an accessible resource of well being in my community.

My work exists at the intersection of painting, activism,spirituality, and storytelling. I have an interdisciplinary approach to creating art. 

I began meditating after Hurricane Katrina. Meditation helped me with some deep depression. Many years later my adult son Joseph  came to live with me from Atlanta. When he first arrived in New Orleans he was diagnosed and suffering from Bipolar, and was in a very bad mental state. In an effort to help improve his mental state , along with regulating diet psych meds, etc. I had him put on headphones and meditate daily, since it helped me, thinking it  might help him. Over time I saw him begin to change. He became a much happier and more outgoing, clear headed version of himself. His brain literally changed slowly over time. I attribute some of his improvement to his daily gratitude meditation practice.

I began to think about the state of African Americans and the state of humanity. I think about the collective traumas that we share. I think about algorithms and Artificial Intelligence that are shaping our minds. I started thinking about making meditation more accessible and also about engineering thoughts that lead to well being for young and old. I have maintained a small music studio where I would create music for much of my video work.  I collaborated with Neesa L Johnson, a celebrated traditional african healer, certified hypnotherapist and experienced meditator. Neesa is also extremely knowledgeable about neuroscience and the science of meditation and NLP practitioner. After multiple conversations about ideas of how to decolonize our minds and improve our community, I felt led to explore this YouTube Channel as a component of my artistic creative practice. Meditation and music as an internal stimulus to shift minds and enrich the soul.

The drum has always been a catalyst for deep trans states in many indiginous cultures and spiritual traditions. Soul Euphoric curates and creates musical experiences from our cultural musical triggers, and rewires them to be attached to positive nurturing thoughts. The exploration of how Sugar has shaped and imprinted the minds of people, soothing, addictive and exploitative. In this work I utilize a modern and ancient tool to recapture, liberate and free the mind in the manner that trance states decolonize and embody practices that enhance the soul.

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Carl Joe Williams is a contemporary African American artist known for his multimedia paintings , sculpture , installations , and interdisciplinary works Williams creates paintings and painted sculpture from found objects

He describes his works as “symphonies of colors” that present a powerful visual experience. Williams’ installation, Journeys, was featured at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Atlanta, GA in 2002. And his Sculptural Trees public art installation in Metairie, Louisiana was described as reminiscent of “lollipops in a Candyland forest,” with their custom acrylic light boxes attached to crepe myrtles. 

Williams is one of the founders of Blights Out, a Creative Capital supported project in New Orleans along with artists Lisa Sigal and Imani Jacqueline Brown.  Blights Out is a community- and artist-led initiative to activate agency in neighborhood development.  This initiative was initiated as part of Prospect New Orleans, the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the U.S. 

His visual interpretations are enhanced by his vision of art and music as extensions of one another. An accomplished musician as well as a visual artist, Williams incorporates his musical compositions into videos and installations. Found objects play an important role in Williams’s works by becoming elements a narrative continuum that addresses societal and historical concerns.

Williams attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Art, NOCCA where he received formal training. Williams continued his studies at Atlanta College of Art earning his BFA.

Williams is a founding member of Level Artist Collective, which includes artists Ana Hernandez, Horton Humble, Rontherin Ratliff, and John Isiah Walton. 

Williams has had a variety of exhibitions including at the George Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi; at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas; at Convergence: JMC@P3 Exhibition in conjunction with Prospect 3+ New Orleans, Curated by Deborah Willis and Sponsored by the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans Museum of Art, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Of Art, at McKenna Museum of African American Art, Hammonds House Galleries, Atlanta, GA; permanent public art installations in Atlanta at Sweet Auburn Curb Market (as part of 1996 Summer Olympics) and at the Washington Park Tennis Center. In 2013 he was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Center NOLA Studio Artist Residence Program. His work is included in the Crystal Bridges Collection, Allentown Museum of Art and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.