February 10, 2023

Creators for a Cause is an internal product series that showcases the Company’s pride of creation culture and highlights the incredible design talents of our colleagues. Creators within Centric Brands design limited edition products available for purchase exclusively by Centric Brands colleagues. 100% of the proceeds are donated to a non-profit chosen by the designer each month.

In celebration of Black History Month, we are excited to introduce our next Creators for a Cause resident artist: Jmar Williams, Supply Chain Operations Manager at Centric Brands. Jmar created four beautiful prints that honor the storytelling, expression and creativity of his elders, who paved the way, sacrificed and changed the course of history to fight for equality. 100% of the proceeds from the prints will be donated to the African American Atelier, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and presenting the work of artists of color.

We interviewed Jmar to learn more about the inspiration behind his designs.

What was your inspiration behind these pieces? 

My inspiration for my pieces varies because the actual concept doesn’t come into play until after I start painting. So, my art is more so an expression of how I’m feeling at the time than something inspiring me.   

What does supporting causes mean to you? 

It means a lot to me because it’s an opportunity to give back to those less fortunate, and it is a rewarding feeling knowing that I helped make a change in someone’s life.  Supporting causes is something that I participated in a lot as a youth through my middle school and high school. Some of those experiences include: Habitat for Humanity, food/clothing drives, flood relief assistance for victims of the Tarboro, NC flood in 1999-2000. 

What does the cause African American Atelier benefitting from the product mean to you? 

It means a lot because it’s a great opportunity to bring awareness to the organization and a great feeling knowing I helped my community. 

How did art call to you (meaning how did you get into art?) 

From as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in art. As a child I enjoyed doing arts and crafts in school and the excitement I felt after seeing my creations come together. When I was in High School, one of my drawings was featured in my High School yearbook. While in college at UNCG, I reignited my love of art when I started painting custom designs and colorways on shoes. This was a popular trend at the time, and I was able to design several pair for family and friends. 

In 2017, I started to pursue my interest in graphic spray paint art after talking to one of my friends at work about doing stencil art on canvases. Out of curiosity I purchased a few canvases and spray paint to see what I could create. Not long after I started painting the designs simply came to me as if they were downloaded in my head. I noticed that creating these pieces was very therapeutic and a major stress reliever, so I continued to paint. I started posting my painting on social media, and I noticed a great reception to my creations. Soon after people started asking me if they could purchase my work and if I could create custom pieces for them. At that point I realized I was on to something, and I started selling my work. Initially the sales were local, but as I progressed, I started selling paintings to customers out of state. I even sold a painting to a customer in Bermuda. Then, from there I was featured in a few art shows, and I was the Artist of the Month at Tate Street Coffee at the Campus of UNCG. Currently, I do not paint as often as I did before, but I am greatly appreciative of what I was able to accomplish when I was more invested in it.      

Everyday life relates to art. You start your day with a blank CANVAS and your daily PATTERN can be ABSTRACT, but for most it goes in CIRCLES! In the event of a bad day, you can always BRUSH it off and apply a new COAT!

The importance of Black History Month and how art can help in the storytelling/awareness/celebration. 

Black history month is very important to me because it gives recognitions to our elders who paved the way, sacrificed, and changed the course of history to fight for equality. Not only that, there are several everyday items that we take for granted that were invented by African Americans (traffic light, clothes dryer, lawnmower etc.) Art helps the storytelling because it expresses the creativity of African Americans through various mediums (music, film, visual arts).