After a 40-year career in engineering as an officer and then owner of Williams Equipment & Controls Co., Clayton Williams made a major course change in his life at the age of 60 years old: He announced to family, friends and co-workers that he was going to shift from engineering to oil painting. Even though he graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1953, he had been interested in painting all of his adult life, having taken drawing and painting classes from the likes of Alvin Gittins and Lee Deffebach. The move from left brain to right brain was satisfying enough for him that he opened an art gallery in 1988, and named it Williams Fine Art.
Today, Clayton is the owner of Williams Fine Art and spends most of his working day at the gallery.
He has served the University of Utah as chair of the College of Fine Arts Advisory Board, co-chair and co-director of the Utah Fine Arts Institute and received the Honorary Alumni Award by the College of Fine Arts in the year 2000, He also received , in that same year, the “U”‘s Alumni Merit of Honor Award. He was an early supporter of the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, was a member of the Development Review Committee, and was co-chair of the College of Fine Arts capital campaign executive committee.
His other community contributions include serving as president of the Salt Lake Rotary Club, twice as president of the Salt Lake Rotary Foundation, President of LDS Hospital’s Amicus Club, board member of the hospital’s Deseret Foundation, and has received the hospital’s Hall of Honor Award and it’s Gold Caduceus Award.
He has served as a member of the Salt Lake County Art Advisory Board, and is currently an active member of
the Huntsman Cancer Institute Art Advisory Board.
Articles about Clayton’s art and gallery career have appeared in two art history books: Utah Painting and
Sculpture and Artists of Utah. An article about Clayton has also appeared in Architectural Digest Magazine.
Since 1988 the Williams Fine Art gallery has shown the works of many contemporary artists, has featured the
works of a great number of Utah’s outstanding early artists, and has presented many cultural events
featuring the works and history of these early Utah artists.
He served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II on the North Atlantic Patrol.
He is a member of the Alta Club, the Salt Lake Country Club, the Salt Lake Rotary Club and Utah
Art History Nurdz.