For someone relatively enigmatic, Julian Williams is easy to find – most nights he’s at the downtown eatery Lucien. Maybe you’ve never seen him, but you have seen his work. Collaborations with brands like Nike, Converse, and most recently a citywide wheatpaste campaign for Fred Perry have cemented this art director and strategist as one to watch.
Beyond formal commissions, Williams is always game to experiment, consider NØT DEAD YET – a project dealing in aesthetics, inspiration and… shitposting? Like we said, enigmatic.
IT BOY is a series spotlighting creatives you should know.
What are you doing right now?
I’m playing a staring game with my dog while my mom talks to the TV. Judge Judy is on.
What do you call what you do?
I’m formally an advertising creative, so I call it bringing brands and products to life. I work on giving them color, giving them substance, and sort of making sure an idea becomes reality and comes full circle.
Name the last thing that made you laugh?
“A.P.I.D.T.A.” by Jay Electronica.
What’s the moment in your career that’s made your mom the most proud?
I think anything that is public facing my mom is proud of, especially when it comes from big brands that she’s familiar with. She loved my work for Fred Perry.
“No one told me how many artists close deals over drinks and drugs in dark rooms.”
One item you never leave the house without? Phones don’t count.
Blistex lip balm and my little gold pill case.
Your favorite curse word?
I grew up listening to a lot of Richard Prior and Red Foxx and Eddie Murphy, so I’m gonna have to say… motherfucker.
Name three people you respect.
That I know: Alex Tanguay, Paige Silveria, Chandler and Chris Kennedy – they count as one. That I don’t know: Fran Lebowitz, Rick Ruben, and André Leon Talley.
What do your haters say?
Oh, God only knows. I stay with hater blockers on. I wish I knew, though. I’m all about self improvement.
What did no one tell you about making it in this garbage city?
First off, watch your mouth! No one calls my city garbage but me. But if we’re calling each other names… I will say that no one ever told me how many bosses, mothers, politicians, artists, actors close deals over drinks and drugs in the corners of dark rooms.
Fill in the blank: rules are _______.
Foolish, most of the time.
If you were to be arrested, what would it be for?
Pretend your friend is setting you up on a blind date. How would they sell you?
You know, the kid with the blue glasses and blonde hair who’s always at Lucien.
You’re at a bar, it’s last call – what do you order to bring home the night?
I’ve been drinking less and less these days. But usually, I’d want to bring home the bar and everyone in it.
You can keep up with Julian and his latest projects by following him on Instagram here.
All photos by Dina Veloric.