Christi Williams is a native to Texas, studied philosophy at Dallas Baptist University as an undergraduate, got her PhD in philosophy at Baylor with an emphasis on Kierkegaard and the broader history of philosophy, and then helped start the philosophy department at Houston Baptist University and taught philosophy there for several years. Currently she teaches philosophy as an adjunct at multiple colleges in the Houston area, does art from her little apartment in the Houston arts district, where she is a single mother raising and part-time home-schooling her two young daughters. Next year she will also start teaching Latin, logic, and great texts to middle schoolers at a classical school. When not reading the works of dead authors, she likes exploring and discovering beauty in new places, people watching, and playing the guitar.
I have recently discovered Christi’s art and connected with her through the modern blessing of social media.
Kelly Belmonte: What/who/where are your consistent sources of inspiration?
Christi Williams: Beauty, the struggle to hope amidst suffering, and overlooked, tender sources of goodness inspire my art.
My art has largely been inspired directly by the works of George MacDonald. He knew suffering, anxiety, depression, the ongoing temptation to despair. He was ostracized from his religious community. He struggled with poverty. He was also a devoted father of eleven children; he wrote a multitude of novels and ballads for them. His works are teaching me how to trust God and continue to hope despite all the fear and anxiety my life has held, especially recently.
I also consistently find inspiration in reading the Scriptures, especially of late the Psalms and major and minor prophets. There have been many days when this has been literally more important than food for me.
Much of my art is drawn directly from simply paying attention to my two daughters (3 and 6 years old) – what inspires their wonder, who they trust, why they laugh, when they are afraid, and what they say.
I also find inspiration in natural beauty, especially trees (my daughters and I like to discover trees, give them names, and climb them if possible) and the stars and moon in the night sky.
I always find inspiration in lyrically rich music and in the words of (mostly dead) authors, especially George MacDonald. In fact, I have a bookshelf labeled “Books for Existential Crises” that I frequently turn to in order to survive each day in one piece. These authors, like me, feel like strangers in a strange world, while also, paradoxically, taking enormous delight in the beautiful details of existence.
KB: What current artists (musicians, poets, painters, photographers, filmmakers, etc) are you following/do you recommend? Who are
CW: Current Musicians – Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst), Danny Schmidt, and (more recently) the Brilliance and the Wailin’ Jenny’s.
Current painters – Herakut, Lucy Campbell, Amy Sol, and Dan May.
Current poets – Wendell Berry, Billy Collins.
Current filmmakers – Hayao Miyazaki, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Terence Malik.
KB: How can readers of All Nine get involved in what you’re doing?