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Fine Art Gets Wild

Artist Reian Williams brings pets, children, portraits to life in Edmond

Article by Heide Brandes

Photography by Kim Wheeler and provided

Originally published in OKC City Lifestyle

The Doberman looks as if it could suddenly bark and come to life on the canvas in Edmond artist Reian Williams' fine arts studio. On another wall, a cheeky lad in a baseball cap flashes a mischievous grin while a cocker spaniel lies lazily upon a rug.

As a lifelong artist, Williams spent his career studying in the United Kingdom and living out east to pursue art. It wasn’t until he returned to his hometown of Edmond did his passion and skill for fine art portraiture blossom.

Williams has also made a name for himself as a pet artist, using the photos of beloved pets to create portraits that come to life. He also has a portrait of INTEGRIS nurses who worked diligently during the COVID 19 crisis that will be hung at The Smithsonian.

“I did my very first portrait when I was 7. I did a portrait of a leopard, and that’s when my parents saw I had skill,” Williams said. “They always encouraged me. I drew every day. Animals have always been my favorite because they are fun to do.”

After graduating from Edmond Memorial High in 1987, Williams traveled to Europe to study architectural design. His love for fine art grew as he traveled throughout Europe to see the frescos and paintings from the masters of the art.

When he returned to the U.S. Williams started a mural business in Flordia. After 18 years of the grueling and physically-demanding work of a muralist, he then moved to North Carolina where he started a design business.

“I decided I didn’t like it,” he said. “It took a long time for me to break into the fine arts realm, mainly due to my confidence level and time. I have always been drawn to the classical style, and I always wanted to do and sell my own art.”

In 2014, Williams and his new wife, also an Edmond native, returned to Oklahoma.

One of Williams' favorite subjects is pets. Having six dogs himself, Williams had always supported animal rescue organizations and he connected with Pat Becker, an Edmond-based animal advocate who ran a pet rescue. By painting pet portraits for the shelter, Williams' 50% of commission profits helped the Edmond Shelter buy new cots for dogs.

In 2016, Williams’ publicist urged him to submit his portfolio to the Oscars gift bag program. He was accepted, and four years later, gift certificates for custom portraits are enjoyed by Oscar nominees.

“Melissa McCarthy was one person I did a portrait for. She took it on the Ellen Show,” he said.

Reian’s commission rates begin at the $500 mark. For more information on Reian Williams, visit reianwilliamsfineart.com, email reianwilliamsfineart@gmail.com or call 405-696-2647.

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