Gilbert Williams was born in Santa Monica, California (USA), on January 2, 1950. When he was five, his family moved to Anaheim, California.
As a child Williams was already drawing avidly, and added to this natural artistic predisposition were the three major artistic influences of his childhood. One of these was Williams’ father. Williams installed heating and air conditioning systems in commercial buildings for a living, but was an avid and very creative stonemason who graced every house he ever lived in with elaborate stone and brick work.
Another was his uncle, Bob Mattey, who was head of Disney’s special effects department. Mattey — whose most famous/infamous creation was the shark in Jaws — took Williams to Disneyland while it was still under construction, and Williams remembers his uncle’s backyard studio as “a wonderland of plaster molds, tools, and movie props.” And finally there was photographer Jack Howard. A friend of his parents’, Howard was an artistic photographer who taught Williams much about composition and lighting — and provided an invaluable example that a person could make a living doing something creative.