Jimmie Williams Experience Charcoal Gallerywww.ArtPal.com/jimmie1975
I started drawing at 3 years old, but success came at 30 years old. In late 2004 I moved from Fort Lauderdale up to Gainesville, Florida and a few months later in early 2005 started my own Art Business on the University of Florida Campus, the area was pretty familiar because I grew up about 30 miles north in a tiny town with a population of about 2,000 people called Lake Butler (particularly the Providence Area). I knew that when I went to set up on campus I'd experience some opposition, but had no idea that I'd get evicted. Well within the first few days of being there some of the people who saw me didn't like it and reported me to the campus police. The police came and said that I was "trespassing" and ordered me to leave, but I didn't get a ticket which was great. However, the campus "newspaper reporter" was there and she interviewed me and took a photo as well for the paper which came out the following day which worked in my favor because I instantly became famous on campus.
Now the reason I became so popular wasn't because I was some great artist because people didn't even know me up to that point, it was because they felt that I was treated on unfair and here's why. I actually was doing live profile portraits of students "Free of Charge" and the students felt like I should have been left alone, in fact some thought that it was "racial profiling" which proved to be untrue and I later came to discover that RACE had nothing to do with it at all. As I investigated to see why people aren't allowed to set up on campus, I discovered that "no one including students, teachers and campus employees can set up without a permit" and that has been a LAW there at that campus for many years and they were not about to change that. So I eventually found a way to work with one of the student body clubs and they brought me in UNDER their permit and I was able to set up again and start serving my clients. It became an INSTANT success, the student newspaper approached me again and interviewed me for a 2nd time and wanted to know how I was able to get back on campus again and I told them.
I got so much support it was almost unbelievable. Although I didn't charge anything for portraits, students gave me tips and I was able to earn a living with what they were giving. During this time I was able to meet several celebrities and illustrate their portraits and give it to them. The University of Florida actually invited Kanye West, Spike Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King III to come and I had the pleasure of meeting each of them and gave them personal portraits that I rendered and I did not charge anything for them, I just wanted to get my name out and it seemed to work very well. Before long I had several students, teachers and regular people in the city of Gainesville wanting me to do commission work for them and I had to turn some of them down because I was overwhelmed!
Eventually, the University of Florida ended up hiring me to work for them and they paid me $100 per hour to work one Friday per month at the Reitz Union doing portraits and I knew this was a major accomplishment because this was the same college that didn't want me to step foot on it's property EVER again! That's when I realized the POWER in PERSISTENCE.... It REALLY pays off, especially if it's something you really believe in and you know that it's your calling in life. Within a 2 year period of starting this company [The Jimmie Williams Experience], I had personally drawn over 2,000 live portraits at Gator Games, on Campus, in the downtown Area, night clubs and various other places in the city. I also had the pleasure to make several thousands of dollars doing personal projects for elite clients including a mural in which I was paid $2,500 for which took me about 2 weeks to complete. I've illustrated several major landmarks of that University including my best-seller "Florida Field".. Now I'm here to serve you!