Brian Williams

About Brian Williams

Born in Peru in 1950, and raised there and in Chile. Made art career choice when sent to California at 16 to finish high school and attend University. After four years at the University of California at Santa Barbara, arrived in Japan in 1972 on a one-way ticket, with just a backpack and $300. Has lived there ever since.

During the ensuing 39 years has had over one hundred shows in department stores all over Japan (prestigious exhibition venues in Japan), including over 50 shows at Takashimaya stores alone. The Asahi Newspapers sponsored an exhibition of his work at two museums in 1996. In 2006, had retrospective exhibition at Miura Art Village Museum of Art in Matsuyama, Japan. In 2007, created 'Portrait of Lake Biwa' exhibition at Sagawa Museum of Art in Shiga Prefecture, incorporating a strong environmental message along with the artistic content of the exhibition. The same year, invented 'Parabolic Painting'. This consists of paintings on panels configured and curved to express the movement of the eye as it looks at the particular scene depicted. Has been featured numerous times on NHK (Japan's National Broadcasting Organization) and commercial television, as well as appearing often in print media. Was featured on Charles Kurault's "Sunday Morning." His work is in various corporate collections, and in a number of museums, including the L.A. County Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of New South Wales.

Works primarily in watercolor, most often painting out on location and doing the finishing touches in the studio. Since 2007, a bucket truck has been an essential piece of on-site painting equipment. Perhaps he is the only artist in the world to own one for the purpose of painting outdoors. Also works in oil in studio, and does printmaking as well, both etching and lithography, at his own print studio.

Lives in a 200-year-old Japanese farmhouse outside of Kyoto with Japanese wife Hidemi. All three daughters are grown and on their own. Has four grandchildren and a fifth one coming. Paints and travels all over Japan, and exotic locales world-wide. Active in environmental issues here in Japan, writing a weekly column for a local newspaper and lecturing frequently on environmental preservation. Enthusiastic diver and spearfisherman. In May 2011, will present a collection of his parabolic paintings on the balcony of Kiyomizu Temple, an unprecedented event in the long history of this most famous of Japanese temples.


1950 Born in Lima, Peru, first son of American missionary parents. Raised in the highlands of central Peru and in northern Chile.

1966 Moved to California at sixteen for final two years of high school. Began painting watercolor, made art career choice.

1968 Entered University of California at Santa Barbara, majoring in art. Began etching. Executed several murals around campus.

1974 First began exhibiting in group shows.

1975 Married Japanese wife Hidemi Yamaguchi.

1978 First major one-man show, at Kobe Sogo Department Store, first of eight at this venue.

1980 Extensive camping and painting trip in the U.S.A.

1981 First one-man show with Takashimaya, at the Yokohama Store. Has had over 50 shows since at Takashimaya Department Store Art Galleries.

1982 Painting trip to France and Switzerland.

1984 Purchases, renovates and moves into farmhouse, in Shiga Prefecture but near Kyoto. First one-man show, Kyoto Takashimaya.

1985 First one-man shows Osaka Takashimaya, Gifu Takashimaya.

1986 Begins working in Lithography - while continuing work in watercolor, oil, and etching.

1987 First one-man show, Nihonbashi Takashimaya in Tokyo.

1988 First one-man show at Yonago Takashimaya. Painting trip to Kweilin in China. Also, trek across the Taklamakan Desert in western China.

1989 First one-man show, Okayama Takashimaya. Painting trips to Luoyang in China, and to Nepal. In response to proposed local megaproject, begins active involvement in environmental protection.

1990 Painting trip to Nepal. Climbs Island Peak (6,000 m). First one-man show, Tamagawa Takashimaya.

1992 Traveling exhibition in seven Takashimaya stores, through early 1993, commemorating 20th year in Japan. In conjunction with exhibit, publishes "Brian Williams in Japan, 20 years in Paint". "Brian Williams Exhibition" at Kusatsu Cultural Hall.

1993 Climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Painting trip to the US and Canada.

1995 Painting trip to Wales in the UK, and to western US. Then travels to Nepal, where, on trek to Gokyo Peak, ruptures knee ligament and is fotuitously evacuated two days before twenty-four other members in his party lost in avalanche.

1996 Kyuryudo publishes "The Heart of Beautiful Japan" together with British photographer Johnny Hymas. Exhibition of the artist's work organized and sponsored by the Asahi Newspapers and held at the Navio Museum of Art, Yokkaichi Kintetsu Department Store Grand Hall, and the Shiga Prefectural Museum of Modern Art. Exhibition catalog. Memorial trip to Nepal.

1997 One-man show, Ikebukuro Mitsukoshi. Awarded the Shuhmei Cultural Prize by the organization behind the Miho Museum of Art. "Brian Williams Exhibition" at Ohmi Shohnin Hall.

1998 First one-man shows, Yamagataya Department Stores, Kagoshima and Miyazaki, and at Hamaya Department store in Nagasaki.

1999 One-man shows at Iwataya Department Store in Kumamoto and Daimaru Department Store in Hakata.

2000 Kyuryudo publishes hardback "Brian's Eye", with over 160 color reproductions, on 50th birthday, timed with another one-man show at the Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store in Tokyo. One-man show, Kurume Iwataya Department Store. Awarded a five-year commission for calendar paintings on the theme of World Heritage Sites, for Taiheiyo Cement Corporation. Painting trip to Venice for World Heritage Series.

2001 One-man show, Tsu Matsubishi Department Store. Painting trips to Tahiti and Easter Island, and to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, for World Heritage Series.

2002 Charity exhibition at Asahi Newspaper's Asacom Hall in Osaka. "Brian Williams Exhibition" at the Kawara Museum in Ohmi Hachiman, Shiga Prefecture. Receives cultural award from Shiga Prefecture. Painting trips to the Taj Mahal in India, down through the Grand Canyon in U.S.A., to the Yellow Mountain in China, and to Iguazu Falls in Brazil, for the World Heritage Series.

2003 Paints "Lake Biwa 3,800,000 Years Ago" for permanent exhitit at the Lake Biwa Museum of Natural History. Painting trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, for the World Heritage Series. First one-man shows, Takamatsu Tenmaya, Kochi Daimaru, and Ikebukuro Tohbu Department Stores. Kyuryudo publishes hardback "Landscapes Far and Near - Brian's Eye"

2005 Painting trip to Western Mongolia.

2006 Retrospective Exhibition at the Miura Art Village Art Museum in Matsuyama Exhibition catalog. Painting trip to Belgium.

2007 'Portrait of Lake Biwa' exhibition at the Sagawa Museum of Art in Shiga Prefecture, an exhibition with a strong environmental message complementing the artistic aspect of the works displayed. During preparations for this show, and 30 feet up in a bucket truck the artists owns as a painting tool, he has the insight and inspiration that led to the concept of Parabolic Painting. Sea Kayak painting trip around the Shiretoko Peninsula of Hokkaido. Painting trip to Yakushima Island in Kyushu, both World Heritage sites. Begins using bucket truck to paint.

2008 Painting trip to Bali. Painting and horseback trip to Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia. Parabolic Painting Exhibition in Convention Center of Otsu Prince Hotel.

2009 Exhibition of images of thatched farmhouses at the Miyama Kayabuki no Sato Thatched Farmhouse Museum.

2010 For the Kyoto Shinbun newspaper, in April begins writing, in Japanese, a weekly column on Lake Biwa, featuring a painting and a short essay, focusing on environmental concerns. Study trip to the Dordogne in France, and Altamira in Spain, to view Paleolithic Art and experience the 'parabolic' effects of images created on curving and irregular surfaces. As a result, the artist is convinced that the first paintings were, in fact, 'parabolic' and that the stunning effects of using configured surfaces to paint images on, has been essentially forgotten since then. Initiates "The Magic of Painting" lecture-demonstrations for nursery and kindergarten children.