Firstly before introducing you to my next artist, I have interviewed. I would like to explain why I am choosing to highlight various artists on my blog.
The main reason is that during our travels we enjoy many various forms of art, some in prominent places such as in museums, art galleries or street, to even footpath art. It is a part of ordinary life for many, and very much a part of a housesitter’s life. Those that do take the route of making a living out of it, though fueled by passion it is still very much a hard road to follow.
This is my way of supporting and highlighting artists who I have come to know via blogging or family/friends. Their art tells so many stories.
So now let me introduce to Holly.
I first caught sight of Holly’s artwork when the Squire and I visited the Craft and Gift market in the township of Marlborough during April 2018, which coincided with our visit to The Marlborough Market.
Holly had cleverly grabbed my attention with a video showing how she starts to finishing her artwork. Then, of course, it was her actual black and white drawings depicting a graceful owl in card form that finally won me over, which was not hard. Cards are such a practical purchase while we are travelling fulltime as they let me indulge in artwork without adding too much weight to our baggage.
Holly, can you tell us how your love of art developed for you? Are you mainly self-taught? Or did you attend Art School? If so which one.
I have always enjoyed creating art for as long as I can remember. When I was really young, I often enjoyed colouring books, drawing, and craft work, and this carried on right the way through school. Art for me has always been an activity that provides fun, a sense of freedom, and a way to learn how to approach new challenges with a creative mindset.
Throughout primary school when I was asked: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was always “an artist”. This became more difficult to follow as I got to the age of picking GCSEs and A-levels, as I came across the opinions of others who look down on art as a subject that will lead to you being poor, having a lack of career, or is for those not academically minded (amongst other disapproving comments). I owe so much to the support of my parents during this time to follow my gut and pursue what I love, and I could not be happier that I ignored the naysayers.
I studied Art & Design at both GCSE and A-Level, and my A2 final project was used by OCR as exemplary work of the newly introduced A* grade back in 2010. I also studied a BA (Hons) in Fine Art & English Literature at Aberystwyth University, followed by an MSc in Marketing at Exeter University to learn more about branding, advertising and business skills to compliment my artistic interests.
What is your favourite subject to draw and where do you get your inspiration for capturing various subjects from?
That’s a good question as I feel I’ve only discovered this recently. In the education system for art, you usually have to pick a theme or topic from a set list of options, or are set a brief with specific objectives and outcomes required. It’s only since 2017 that I started to pursue art more commercially after education for the first time, and that’s when I realised I had complete freedom to draw or create whatever I wanted.
I find myself naturally drawn to wildlife and landscapes, which is because of my childhood in rural Leicestershire and having enjoyed plenty of family hiking holidays over the years. Nature provides so much inspiration to me, as I find it can remove the stresses of modern day life so you can really focus on being in the moment. The natural world provides such a variety of textures to observe, animals to discover in all shapes and sizes, and peaceful spaces to really sit-back in and absorb your surroundings. I feel at home in rural areas and try to express this feeling of serenity across my artwork -and I hope this is something the viewers of my artwork can enjoy and identify with as well.
Is capturing wildlife via art your way of making people more aware of their existence and the need to preserve their habitats?
I would definitely like my art to serve a greater purpose in the future. A lot of the animals I have drawn in my latest wildlife series in a charcoal medium, are in fact endangered British mammals such as the European Hedgehog or Red Squirrel. I would love my art to play a part in promoting endangered species in this country, and one of my long-term goals is to sell artwork in aid of organisations that are working towards helping our planet, especially protecting endangered species and ecosystems that need our support.
Do you regularly attend many Craft Markets? Or do you prefer to sell through a retail source or online?
I have been attending craft fairs since July 2017, in which time I’ve attended just over twenty fairs to date. I have more planned for this year too which includes larger County and Country Shows -a first for me, so I am very much looking forward to them. I have an Etsy shop online as well, but for now, I find I am most successful selling offline, as people enjoy meeting the artist of the work in person. I am working towards promoting my art prints online though, as it would be great to make my artwork more accessible to a broader audience.
What was your last or most significant event or exhibition where you have showcased your artwork?
I last exhibited artwork at two events in 2013. The first was at Aberystwyth’s annual School of Arts Degree Show, where I was delighted to sell one of my stone lithograph prints to the National Library of Wales. From here I was scouted to exhibit for my first solo show, ‘Aberystwyth Seascapes’, at the MOMA Wales just a few months later, which is located in Machynlleth, Wales. At both exhibitions, I showcased landscape-themed stone lithograph prints, which is a form of printmaking that I specialised in at the university.
Do you have a date for your next exhibition?
Not currently, but I am working on a new body of work at the moment in the medium of charcoal. Once I have enough new works, I will start approaching galleries to hold my first exhibition in five years!
What’s your favourite place to see Art?
I particularly enjoy discovering new artists and craft-makers in independent village shops, galleries and at country fairs. I really believe in supporting the little guy as well as just the larger chain stores. By doing so, you are not only encouraging diversity in the art and craft market but can walk away with your new item knowing that you’ve made that individually do a heartfelt happy dance on the inside because you bought their product.
Do you make a living from your artwork?
At the moment I work full-time in marketing for a visitor attraction, and then work hard at my art when I have the energy during evenings and weekends. I would love my art to be a more significant part of my life, but it’s just a case of working away at it bit by bit over time to really build some momentum.
What is your favourite form of art? What artist inspires you the most to create that form of art?
It’s hard to pick just one artist that inspires me the most as there are so many! But in this instance, I would like to mention my late Grandad Kenneth Whittaker as my favourite inspiration, who really enjoyed creating watercolours. I really liked the variety of subject matter he used to paint from portraits to scenes from his holidays, using layers of colour to create compositions as well as both the fluidity and detail you can get with that particular medium. So I really like bright watercolour paintings as I often associate this medium with him. I inherited all of his art equipment too, so I am looking forward to experimenting with his watercolours to see how I could combine the colours with my current black and white charcoal drawings for a mixed media effect.
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