Arthur J. Williams Jr. - The DaVinci Gallery
One of the world’s most notorious counterfeiters, Arthur J. William’s Jr., who learned how to paint while in prison, has announced the opening of his DaVinci Art Gallery located in Beverly Hills at 499 N Canon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Open for private appointment, DaVinci Gallery is the first “COVID FREE” business of its kind, utilizing state of the art UV lights placed throughout the gallery, touch-free sanitizing stations, and to practice social distancing, each exquisite piece has been positioned six feet apart from the next.
Mr. Williams, infamous for being the counterfeiter who successfully replicated the “impossible to replicate” 1996-hundred-dollar bill, could be this generation’s most unlikely artist whose exploits have been covered in Rolling Stone, VICE, Gizmodo, Forbes, featured on American Greed and chronicled in the book The Art of Making Money, by Jason Kersten. Convicted for his criminal wrongdoings, Williams had spent more than a third of his life behind bars before his 40th birthday. While serving his last seven years, Mr. Williams passed the time by studying the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo and taking art classes taught by a fellow inmate. During his incarceration, Williams took what he learned from studying the masters to create money-themed oil paintings, which incorporate the same level of detail found in his counterfeit work. All his works are painted in layers and he adds many of the security features found in real currency. (All of Mr. William’s paintings include watermarks on the canvases that can only see when held up to light.) Mr. Williams also uses a number of revolutionary painting tropes that have become his signature, including iridescent ink that is only visible under a black light, canvases done with three-dimensional paint, and elaborate prints on NASA space material.
“There are many artists today creating work that revolves around money. However, none of them have a personal connection & history to the subject matter quite like Arthur does. He’s sacrificed immensely for his craft. And within that sacrifice is a tremendous amount of value that’s created a unique skillset,” states Matthew Moore, Founder of Artists Replete.
Turning from his life of crime to the world of art, Williams’ big break came when actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invited the artist to his Los Angeles home to auction his paintings for the former governor’s charity, “After School All-Stars”. (Williams’ showing raised over $180,000.00 for the charity.)
Mr. Williams Jr. is no stranger to taking risks. And this past spring at the height of the COVID pandemic, the artist took another. Having been forced to close his successful gallery in his hometown of Chicago, in hopes of making a better life for his wife and children, he packed up the family and headed to California. Through hard work and talent, Mr. Williams is now thrilled to showcase his work in his new gallery located in the heart of Beverly Hills.
While Williams and his family look forward to the day when he can have a grand opening, he is happy that art lovers can still experience his work safely.
Arthur J. Williams Jr.’s story goes beyond the world of art. He has brought inspiration to countless others experiencing hard times. In addition to creating new work, Williams donates a portion of his earnings to several charities, including After School All-Stars and Common Ground. Mr. Williams also dedicates a substantial amount of his time as both motivational speaker and mentor to “at risk” youth, searching for a positive pathway in life. Arthur J. Williams Jr. hopes that his story will inspire others to keep pursuing their dreams.