Alexis Williams


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An artist’s job, like that of a scientist or a spiritual leader is to devote her life to understanding things from atypical or extraordinary points of view.  While the scientist uses tools like the microscope and x-ray machine to expand their scope of observation and the shaman uses trance and meditation to increase their field of vision; the artist chooses instruments like laser beams and feathers from their unconventional tool kit to extend and amplify their senses.  In turn, each transmits their findings through journals, ceremony or exhibitions to share their particular experiences with the world.

The word shaman literally translates to “the one who knows” or “the one who can see in the dark” The shaman is able to see invisible spiritual forces that affect our behaviour.  The invisible forces that the scientist sees are microbes, light waves and the laws of physics and biology. The invisible forces that the artist sees are symbols, implications and innuendo.  All three of these characters are explorers. Examiners of truth. Driven by curiosity and passion. Breakers of boundaries. Inspecting reality and their surroundings. Experimenting with their relationships to reality. Seekers of knowledge and experience.

As an artist with a research led practice I am interested in both new and traditional disciplines where people inquire about who we are and what is really going on like Biology and Mysticism.  Just as Science and Spirituality have appropriated art, my art appropriates them back. I frequently use both microscopes and meditation to develop my creative processes. Remixing not only cultural information but the ways it is communicated. As an artist interested in paradigm shifts and moments of realization, I am drawn to new media, the lecture and ceremony as methods to perform my work which often attempts to draw attention to things that were always visible but are overlooked or ignored until we learn how to see them.


Alexis Williams is a Canadian eco-artist, writer and teacher interested in mushrooms, birds and ecological associations. She currently experiments with paint and words while doing a string of artist residencies in Ireland. She continues to host online research programs for artists to study ecology at the Biophilium, facilitates 100 biology lectures and artists talks a year, gives regular ecology webinars and hosts a monthly Death Cafe for artists to discus mortality and grieving in art. She is an active naturalist, photographing wildlife daily and is a member of several field naturalist and mycology clubs. She is a forager, wild fermenter and native silk moth conservationist- in 2022 she released 300 Saturnid caterpilars in the Ottawa area.

Her writing has been published in the New York Mycological Society Journal, The Caterpillar, The Fungaphile, Trail and Landscape, the Earthkeeper's Handbook, the Germinating Herbarium Anthology and Atlas Obscura.

She hosts an annual art swap that produces 700 small works a year.

One of her sound pieces was selected to be in the 2014 Marrakech Biennale. She has a love for biology and frequently uses natural materials like mushroom spores, butterfly dust and spider webs to experiment with untraditional print-making techniques. Her work often highlights the kinship of Art, Science and Mysticism. In 2013 she had two solo shows of a collection of monumental sacred geometry made with graphite rubbings of man hole covers. Her most recent solo show was a collection of Shamanic masks that showcased art and science alliances as contemporary magic.

Williams holds a BFA and an MFA from Concordia University in Montreal where she studied Art and its connections to meditation and biology and worked as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate classes on Ecology & Art and Book Making.  She worked as a technician the digital print lab at Concordia for 3 years and has given workshops on letterpress, various experimental printing techniques, movement and biology.

Williams is an amateur mycologist. In 2011 she was commissioned by the Ottawa Art Gallery to construct a mushroom garden that would engage the community. The project was supported by a grant from the Awesome Foundation and was awarded the Mechtronix Graduate Fellowship for Innovative Excellence.  She was a Pukaskwa National Park Artist in Residence in 2013 where she studied the park’s mycology and lead public tours on the wild mushrooms and her relationship to them as an artist. In 2014 Concordia University awarded her a Graduate Mobility Award to photograph the wild mushrooms of Canada to illustrate a book she wrote on the subject, a project she continued as painter in residence at the Sachaqa Art Center, Peru in 2015. One of these paintings won the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club art competition in 2016.

In 2014 the Hexegram Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies awarded her an internationalisation grant to participate in several artist residencies including a month in Finland at the Arteles Creative Center. While in Finland she studied with the Finish Bio Art Society and learned to print with living yeast. She also used the grant to participate in the Culture Vultures Sidi Ali residency in Morocco to study underground Sufi trance rituals and then produced the catalogue of work inspired by the group’s experience.

As an undergrad she ran the urban artist collective Metroglyph, which met weekly to produce work. The collective showed and hosted events in Montreal. From 2004 - 2007 Williams worked collaboratively as a performance artist with Fiona Annis. In 2005 - 2008 they ran the fire centric circus, Swan Vestas, with whom she wrote and performed across Canada and the states as well as running the administrative side of the business. From 2009 – 2012 she worked as a live Video Jockey performing at music festivals and events around eastern Canada. Between her BFA and MFA she studied event management at Algonquin College in Ottawa. In 2014 she founded the Ayatana Artist Residency Program as director and continues to lead international artists on science expeditions with Canadian scientists, pilots and naturalists.



Since 2014 as director of the Biophilium artists’ research program: Recruiting and communicating with scientists and artists, facilitating over 100 science lectures and artist talks each year. Running the Biophilium Library and Book Club. Writing and lecturing on art and ecology.

Formal Education


Master of Fine Art, Print Media

Concordia University, Montreal


Bachelor of Fine Arts, Studio Arts

Concordia University, Montreal




Selected Group Exhibitions, Screenings and Live Art Performance


Wild Cards
Death and Photography

Roundhouse Gallery, Jacksonville University
Step Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona




Chaos Fungorum
Arousing Biophilia- Art andScience
Death Angels and Turkey Tails

Bountiful Davis Art Center, UT
Nanotopia, Toronto
Art Arc Gallery, San Jose, CA
Bookshelf Micromuseum, U of Western Ontario


International Artist’s Book Exhibition
Canadian Microbiology Conference

Bank Street Arts, UK
University of Calgary, Alberta


Off the s{h}elf

i`klectik Art Lab, London, UK



Uncommon Common Art exhibit, NS


Flocks of Secrets, Swarms of Lies

The Art Gallery, UCC, Roseburg, Oregon


Here. Now. Where?

Marrakech Biennale, Morocco


OpenSource: Openly Sourced

University of Technology, Australia



Atelier Circulair, Montreal
Art Mûr, Montreal


The Year of the Snake                                                                       

Ontario College of Art and Design



L’Encien Ecole des Beaux Arts, MTL


A Letter to my Lovers

Project:or Film Festival, Montreal


Concordia Juried Graduation Show

EV complex, Montreal


Garfin's Print Show

Atelier Circulair, Montreal


Momentary Reverse Switch

Loyola Theatre Festival, Montreal


Fire Carrier’s Reliquary

Gallery X, Montreal


Zucchini Anomaly

Carnavale Carmagnole, Quebec


Expopolis, Metroglyph

VAV Gallery, Montreal




Solo Exhibitions         


The Shaman’s New Mask

MFA Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal


Gyotaku Prince

Pukaskwa National Park Visitor Centre, Ont.


A Fly Can’t Bird

Nonesuch Gallery, Nova Scotia
Soora Gallery, China Town Remixed, Ottawa

Public Talks and Guest Speaking                                            


The Likeness of Birds
Creative Research for Animation

North Wall Gallery, Oxford
Evergreen College, Seattle


Birds, Plants, Mushrooms & Death Rituals
Death Rituals in Contemporary Art

Wild Webinar Series,Biophilium
Creative Mornings, Ottawa
Arizona State University


Science in the Studio

Georgia State University


Science-Art Research Opportunities

University of Ottawa


Science-Art Research Opportunities

TransCultural Exchange, Boston U


Cave Painting to Transgenics: Biology in Art  

Acadia University, Nova Scotia


Ritual in Art

Hexagram Research and Creation talks, Mtl

Teaching and Workshop Leadership


Digital Microscopy, Wild Fermentation
Lab Mycology and Sterile Technique

The Biophilium
Ayatana Artistic Research Program


Mushroom Appreciation in the Field

The/Le Sensorium, Quebec
Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario
Main and Station, Nova Scotia


Letterpress workshops

Concordia University


Gyotaku printing workshop

Concordia University


Print Media Teacher’s Assistant:
- Art and Ecology

Concordia University


- Book Arts




- Advanced Lithography
- Introduction to Silk Screen 



Digital Print Studio Monitor

Concordia University




Residencies and Expeditions                                                                      





1 week production residency
1 month production residency
1 month production residency
7 week production residency
2 week production residency
1 month production residency
2 weeks at the Festival of Birds
66th Peck Mushroom Foray
1 month production residency
Mapping the Sacred Valley AiR
3 month production residency
Solar Eclipse AiR
SoftWEAR wearable tech AiR

Wick Farm Bath, England
MERZ Studios, Scotland
Dereenacappera, Ireland
Greywood Arts, Ireland
Tyrone Guthrie Center, Ireland
Road Books, Ireland
Point Pelee National Park, Ontario
Cornell University/NYMS 
La Ceiba Grafica, Mexico 
Healing House, Cusco, Peru 
Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Oregon 
Snaggy Mountain, North Carolina  
Art Scape Gibraltar Point, Toronto 


1 month production residency

Sachaqa Centro de Arte, Peru 


Art ♥s Science

Bio Art Expedition, NYC 


 Sidi Ali Trance AiR

Culture Vultures, Morocco 


Silence. Awareness. Existence

Arteles Creative Center, Finland 


Art in the Park Residency

Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario

Conferences, Workshops and Training







Teacher Leadership Program
Art, Ecology and Activism
Fuck Plants; eco-sexuality in literature
Fabricating with Fungi
Analyzing Brain Waves
Podcasting & the Art of the Interview
NEMF Conference
  Carnival of the End of the World Divination
Field Photography
Slime Mould and Bio-Art
Creative Writing

Yale, online
Node Curatorial Studies, online
Beyond Form Creative Writing, online
Genspace, online
Genspace, online
Atlas Obscura Experiences, online
Northeast Mycological Federation, online
The Museum of Morbid Anatomy, online
The Camera School, online
Genspace, online
Carleton University, Ottawa


Watercolour Techniques

Ottawa School of Art



New Moon Mycology Summit
Bio-Sonification workshop
DNA Barcoding
Fall Fungi
Skeletal Articulation
Open Water Diving Licence

Mycelium Underground, Thurman, NY
Co:Lab, Toronto
Genspace, NYC
Queens University Biodiversity Station, Kingston
Museum of Morbid Anatomy, Brooklyn


The Way of the Shaman

Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Ontario


Biological Imaging

School of Visual Arts, NYC


Synthetic Biology

Genspace, NYC


Binaural Microphone Construction

Eastern Bloc, Montreal


Popular Sufism

Prof. Reddad Sadiqi, Morocco


Photographic Printing with Live Yeast

Finish Bio Art Society, Helsinki


Hiking at Night Without a Flashlight

Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia


Bacterial Culturing for Artists

Anna Dimitriu, Flux Media, Montreal


Drawing, Darkroom Photo & Studio Art

Ottawa School of Art

Awards and Research/Production Grants
2016     Ottawa Field Naturalist Art Prize
2014     ORP Art Production Grant
Hexagram Internationalisation Grant
2013     MFA Mobility Award
2011     Mechtronix Graduate Fellowship for Innovative Excellence
Ottawa Art Gallery Production Grant
Awesome Foundation Grant
Winner of the In Flow FestivalVideo Contest
2009     FASA Special Projects Grant
2006     Art Matters Project Grant
2005     FASA Special Projects Grant
Prairie Outdoor Art Exhibition Grant
2004     Art Matters Project Grant

Current Memberships

Ottawa Field Naturalists Club
Sci-Art Initiative of America

New York Mycological Society
Mushroom Society of Utah
The Color Lab





Underworld Beer from the Rhyzosphere
Light of Bone and Feather

Marmalade Milk
The Crow and The Cormorant
The Cecropia Caterpillar
Grand Marshal of the Mushroom Parades

EarthKeeper’s Handbook
The Caterpillar Magazine
Fungiphile Journal
Entropy Magazine
Field and Landscape Journal
NYMS Publication



Germinating Herbarium
Mi Teleferico
The Ayatana Guides to Cusco & NYC
The Shaman’s New Mask
The Mushroom Oracle

Catalogue of botanical art
Atlas Obscura
Exhibition Catalogue
Android app, Google Play


Ebb and Flow

Album, Soundcloud



AiR Sidi Ali II Catalogue


Both and Neither

Catalogue of prints and text




Selected Reviews, Catalogues, Articles and Interviews
2023                   Interviewed as an entrepreneur by Shout Out Magazine
2022                   Interviewed as a naturalist by the Meditation Daily Podcast
                              Interviewed as death residency host by Talk Death Daily
2021                   Interviewed as mycological artist by North Spore Magazine
Interviewed as research artists by Sci-Art Magazine, NYC
2018                   Interviewed as director of Ayatana by the Science Borealis blog, BC
Interviewed as director of Ayatana by the Low Down newspaper, Quebec
2015                   Interviewed as director of Ayatana in Arts and Culture, News Review, Oregon
2014                    Interviewed as artist by Art Business blog, Australia
Featured as mycological artist in le/the SensoriuM Catalogue                                                                                                 
                              Featured in Arteles Cultural Center Catalogue  
2013                   Artist review by culture blog Culture Plus, Quebec
Interviewed as mycological artist by culture blog Midnight Poutine, Quebec
2012                   Featured as a print maker in the Stittsville Newspaper
Interviewed as mycological artist for Arts Report                                                                   
2011                   Interviewed as a mycological artist by CUTV
Featured as a jeweller in Ottawa Style magazine
                             Interviewed as a bio artist by Art web magazine Dream. Love. Grow.
2008                   Interviewed as an artist on the Way Up on
2006                   Interviewed about the S.Vestas Flaming Circus on CKRW White Horse Radio
Interviewed in Hielo Del Fuego: A documentary film on Montreal circus performers.
2004                   Interviewed as director of Metroglyph artist collective on CBC Radio