Katie Williams

is an artist, designer, and cat mom living in Chicago.





An exploration of one of my greatest phobias using a framework of visual grammar.


Using research methodologies of visual grammer developed by Maura Frana, Dentophobia explores my singular, all-encompasing phobia of dental work. An exploration into my own personal phobias coincided with the onset of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which heightened awareness of fear and anxiety for countless others across the globe. 

The result is, in its final form, a single-shot video of an ice mold of an upper set of teeth thawing in real time under a gentle heat source. At first, the viewer cannot detect any change in the object. An inherent need for quick cuts makes the viewer start to get antsy. For over eight minutes, the single shot becomes excrutiating to withstand. 

CW: audio of dentistry tools (drilling, suction, grinding, etc.)
This, combined with audio of voicemails from my own surgeon after a frenectomy and gum graft in 2019 and voicemails from my family after that same procedure and others, illustrates the manner in which a growing seed of discomfort can become ultimately unbearable, even maddening.

Utilizing this research process changed my baseline for my work process in graduate school, and would later become integral into my practice, and a mirror to my graduate thesis research. (Note how mentions of geneology, family research, and family “curses” are throughout)
Though every component is crucial, perhaps the most illustrative of this project and my practice as a whole includes the panic sketches. In every body of work, my process midpoint is visual sketching of the emotive qualities uncovered and to be conveyed. These are free-flowing, improvisational sessions. Interestingly, they almost always dictate the final visual language for the work. 


©2024 Katie Williams. All rights reserved.
Built on Cargo︎︎︎