Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Artist Interview: Hollis Hart

Re: ArtistWhat is your name: Hollis Hart

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist:
I am self taught I guess you would say. I grew up with my parents culturing a creative environment for my brother and I. I was lucky enough to go to elementary, middle and high schools that have art classes available. I have also taken advantage of the Art Center At Night programs in Pasadena. I also enroll myself in little classes here and there, all casual but useful in my opinion. I will probably never stop attending them.

What is the style of your pieces:
I would just simply label my work as low brow art. Some people hear that and associate the term with negative connotations but I think of it as having a playful mindset behind the creation of it. I don’t take myself too seriously or else I think I would go mad. But I am always trying out new personal styles.

What is the medium in which you work:
I work mostly in acrylic paints. But I really love working with colored pencils and ink. I have been trying new things though lately. I recently took a drawing I did when I was four years old, turned it into a painting called “Together”. I then took those two characters and made a short story self published book I titled “A Tale Of Two Creatures”. After that I used that basic storyline, made little sculptures of them and made a ten second stop motion animation film. Right now I am working on making a music video for Shane Sweet of Sandbox Rebel for his new album “Songs for Friends, Family, and the Times”. I am using oil paints and shooting still frames of the painting in progress and editing it into a film.
So basically, I am all over the place. I don’t see why I should just stick to one thing.

What started you on your path as an artist:
Well, I always loved making things and tinkering with machines as a little kid. As I got older I drifted away with that and I found myself abusing drugs. I would do art every once and a while but I felt I could only do it while under the influence. At 17, I approached my parents and told them that I had a drug problem and needed to go somewhere to get the help I needed. I wanted geographical relocation and forced sobriety. So I checked myself into a lockdown facility and RTC (residential treatment center). That I where I really got back into it. Art class with Nate Pack. I would get extremely frustrated and hated it because all of the sudden my inhibition were back without being “freed” through drugs. I would break down in there all the time because I would put the weight of the world on every piece I began. Then I started spending more and more time working on things for myself and just having fun with paints. I left there after 9 months and I have been nonstop ever since. It is my outlet and something that makes me feel productive no matter what is going on in my life.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life:
Art has given me an outlet and a sense of pride. Whether or not people like my work as a whole, I don’t care, to each his own. But at the end of the day, I can look at what I have finished, started, or continued and know that it is all because of me.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:
If you are talking really broad then I would say music. It is something that doesn’t come naturally to me but I dearly appreciate those who do have it. But if we are just going with visual art then I would say realism, it is just something that I am amazed by.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:
Well I have had a few shows. I hated them at first, I just felt awkward and exposed, afraid to overhear people speaking negatively about my work. Then I had some wall space at The Brewery Artwalk this year. I was forced to stand in front of my work as around 10,000 people went through. I quickly learned that the right piece has to be found by the right person, the right day. Those are some slim odds for an emerging artist. Then a glass ceiling was shattered and I learned that it should be fun… so it was.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:
Every piece of clothing I own has paint or some other medium on them. There is one dress I have worn once and no that is clean for now.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
The most frustrating part to me about being an artist is probably less about the money (that goes without saying in the realistic thought process) or having creative blocks. Instead it is those times when there are so many ideas things that I want to learn more about branching off in all directions and not being able to just do it all.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:
I would have to go with thinly sliced peppered turkey with butter, mayo, spicy mustard, lettuce, and some pepper on toasted bread…. So good.

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they:
Oh yes! I am much more brave in trying new mediums that I am uncomfortable using. I think that the day my work is formulaic is going to be a sad sad day for myself.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:
Dali. Definitely Dali. There is something in that off the wall way along with classical technique that blows my mind.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person: An untitled piece by an unknown artist that hangs in my parents’ house. They have had it since I was little and I always loved it. It is an ink piece of a woman with these droopy eyes… I cant even explain. To me it evokes happiness, sadness, relief, just basically anything that I need to relate to BAM right there. One piece.

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work
: I have two cats and a dog. They all love laying in the sun while I work. I make sure to take breaks to pet each and every one of them. My tabby cat Bliss looooves it when I sew. I don’t love it when she helps me though. My big cat Claire mostly just waits for when the petting begins. Jake the dog will hang out in the same manor as Bliss. But he follows me to the kitchen when I go to get food, knowing full well that he is gonna get some too.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us: On August 13th I will be participating in a group show called Sugar Cubed. It is an art, fashion, music show don’t by women in artistry.
June 20th I may be selling more craft stuff and small pieces, everything under $50 type thing. I haven’t been filled in on specifications but feel free to email me if you are interested in more details and I will let you know as soon as I do.

ALSO!! Shane Sweet from Sandbox Rebel and I may be putting on an acoustic show/art gallery some time this summer. If you would like more info please let me know and I will keep you posted on that as well.


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