Artist Bio

Aaron D. Williams is a Cleveland-based multimedia artist and entrepreneur. A multi-dimensional creative working primarily in mixed media, Williams blends the aesthetics of contemporary design, traditional painting, and street art to examine topics of social significance related to identity and culture.

Williams is the CEO and principal designer of Aawful Aaron, an emerging apparel brand and creative agency. His work has been exhibited in cultural institutions, including The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, The Cleveland Public Library, and various Midwest retail and community spaces.


Artist Statement 

I enjoy exploring different mediums, from drawing to painting. I use a multidisciplinary approach, showcasing mixed media works alongside new merchandise and public programs to promote a more holistic art experience.

My creative practice begins with research. After deciding on the subject, I consume any available materials and compile my favorite references to create a final mood board composition. Using drawing as the foundation of my work, I rely heavily on layering, applying extensive amounts of colored pencils, markers, and mixed media to create the final composition. I manipulate photorealistic practices to shape an altered representation of the chosen subject. This may mean exaggerating perceived “truths,” whether that be the figure's anatomy, my choice of palette, or the use of the material itself.

Paralleling my physical process, my work is also conceptually layered. I address a topic using a variety of influences that draw from my experiences, pop culture, and the stories I’ve learned in my lifetime. 

-Aaron D. Williams






2024 City Hall - 2nd Floor / Discover the Promise: Impact, Legacy, & Perspective / Group ExhibitionCleveland, OH

2024 SPACES Gallery / Toby's Vault / Escaping Aawful Land /  Artist In Residency, Cleveland, OH.

2022 FutureLAND Installation / Group Exhibition, Cleveland, OH.

2022 Greenlight Art Gallery / Group Exhibition , Cleveland, OH. 

2022 Yards Project / Illustrious Gravitas / Group Exhibition , Cleveland, OH.

2022   Museum of Contemporary Art / Museum of Creative Human Art, Where We Overlap / Group Exhibition , Cleveland, OH. 

2022 Longhouse Gallery / The Prototype Lab / Group Exhibition, Cleveland, OH. 

2021 Future Ink Graphics’ Community Gallery / New Neighbors / Group Exhibition, Cleveland, OH.

2021 Museum of Contemporary Art / Museum of Creative Human Art, Aawful Aaron / Solo Exhibition, Cleveland, OH. 



Boss K9 Cleveland 

Cleveland Public Library 

Comfort CLE

Condado Tacos 

FRONT International

Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Greater Collinwood Development Corporation 

Maker’s Mark

Senator Sherrod Brown 

ThirdSpace Action Lab




LAND Studio

Museum of Creative Human Arts

Pattern Play Glass 

Reform Skateboarding 

Rule of Next 

Zygote Press 



2023 Zygote Press Gallery / Aawful Friends Vol 1.:The Future is Now | Cleveland, OH.


Grants and Awards

2024  Verge Fellowship. Cleveland Arts Prize | Cleveland, OH.

2023 Karamu House Room in the House Award | Cleveland, OH. 

2021 Urgent Art Fund Grantee. SPACES Gallery | Cleveland, OH. 

2020 Microgrant Award. Red Bull Arts | Detroit, MI.

2012 Gold Key (2), Silver Key (1). Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (sponsored by the Cleveland Institute of Art), Cleveland, OH.


Public Art Commissions 

2023 Cleveland Browns Foundation Donation Center Mural  LAND Studios Cleveland Food Bank | Cleveland, OH.

2021 Hands of my Hood (mixed media mural). Greater Collinwood Development Corporation | Cleveland, OH.

2021 Hands & Railroads (banner design), Greater Collinwood Development Corporation | Cleveland, OH.

2021 Collinwood High School (banner design), Greater Collinwood Development Corporation | Cleveland, OH.