INDIANAPOLIS—40 years ago, Charlie Williams wore a tie to work every day at his fledgling agency, Williams Company, and he hasn’t stopped since. Not just any tie either. There was always thought given to the choice. A hand-picked tie to match whatever occasion the day had in store. Big meeting? Something to match the client’s brand colors. Opening Day of the baseball season? Something with a nod to his beloved Dodgers.
So what do you get for the man to whom this agency owes everything? Hopefully this commissioned piece of original art will suffice as the first thousand words of our undying gratitude.
We contacted Kyle Ragsdale, the curator of the art gallery at Harrison Center for the Arts in downtown Indianapolis and quite the accomplished artist in his own right, to do an original piece to honor our founder. After several conversations with Gail Hayes, Scott Arvin and Brian Thibodeau from our creative team, who knew they wanted the centerpiece to be Charlie’s signature neckwear, Kyle had more than enough inspiration.
Kyle likes to say that his paintings, “invite viewers to make their own interpretations and connections with the visual clues in the images,” and that’s certainly the case here. Whether you interpret Charlie to be a buttoned-up businessman, avid golfer, insatiable coffee drinker, or just a compassionate guy with a wicked sense of humor, you’d be right. (For the record, we never did get an answer on why Charlie Brown made the painting, but we’re guessing the first name is the connection.)
Once the dust settled and the oil paints dried (at least mostly dried—we didn’t cut things close at all), there were some touching words from Gerry Randall and Gail Hayes, who have worked with Charlie longer than anyone other than his partner in both life and business, Donna Williams.
The result is this beautiful piece that not only captures Charlie’s flair for fashion, but the energy and enthusiasm he’s brought to the agency for 40 years. Thank you, Charlie. We couldn’t have done it without you.