Dick is profiled in the UK Guardian to promote the release of his Masterclass app
The big news:
"He and Mo are taking advantage of technical advances to digitally restore his archives. He is also working on a new "big film" ("the subtitle is: 'will I live to finish it'"). He says he is in excellent health despite a heart bypass operation a few years ago. As a thank you to his medical team, he animated some graffiti by Banksy – another Bristol artist – for his doctors to show at a medical conference. In it Banksy's masked rioter suffers a heart attack while throwing a bunch of flowers, "and my doctors said it was the most authentic heart attack they had seen. But I should also say that he gets better by the end of the cartoon."
An early beneficiary of the restoration programme is a film of circus performers, which Williams began when he was just 20, later put to music composed by a young Richard Rodney Bennett. "The great thing about digital is that it can open up the work in completely new ways, not least in terms of distribution. A long time ago I was asked by one of the great guys at Disney how I could survive without a Disney helping me. They knew that what they did would not have been possible without him, and it's true that I never did have a Disney and it's also true that I got screwed. If I did things again I would be wiser, but you get wise too late. I was so interested in the work that it blinded me to what was going on. And the work is just so damn fascinating you feel as if nothing else matters."
He is reluctant to say too much about what "the big film" is about – "we had so much publicity about The Thief and then it went wrong" – but says it is being made in chapters – "so if I do drop dead we will still have something" – and that a six minute prologue, which will be a short film in its own right, will soon be ready. "What I'm interested in is that nobody has been able to handle realism. It's just been embarrassing. So I'm doing graphic realism, these things are obviously drawings, but it will go into adult territory and will combine different styles. I want something that will be grim, but also funny and salacious and sexy. I can't tell you how excited I am by it. No one has been able to do this and I know that I can. All I need is some time and five or six assistants who can draw like hell."