Archives for category: Atlanta artist

IMG_7528.jpgAbove is what is called “a Work In Progress.” I thought it was far enough along to show. (What you can see of it, anyway.)

My daughter took this photograph while she was doing a video of me working on the painting. The camera went off and bam, not prepared, I have this to post.

It is the tenth Cross Painting, adding to the nine painting series shown in New York about a year ago. I thought I would even the series out to ten, as I am currently applying to a variety of venues for which I’ll keep the series in tact.

As you might know, a few weeks ago, Atlanta had a fire underneath a major intersection of freeway. The fire burned through the steel support beams melting the pavement, destroying the highway, preventing any traffic to cross over. The estimated amount of vehicles passing daily through this particular span of freeway is 450,000. Also worth noting, is the fact that this span of road is necessary for most commuters to get to and from work everyday. And this has caused commuter time to triple due to everyone taking surface streets to circumvent the accident site.

Virtually, Atlanta is crippled.

Therefore, for now, I am working at home. Not that I stay exclusively out here. I do brave the ungodly slowed-down traffic to do some work in my “real” studio at least once or twice a week. But, in this little home studio in the basement, it’s fine for the majority of work that needs getting done immediately. There is a minimum of clutter around. Just my tackle box full of paints, some favorite artist reference books I consider important to this project, an extra glass pallet and brushes, all of which I toted from my studio on the other side of the forbidden stretch of road.

I enjoy working at home, but I do believe I am better off if I physically separate work from home. Painting is such an immersive thing, both mentally and physically. I get Turpenoid all over my hands so that they tingle at night, even after washing them a million times. And I feel so dirty. Of course I work longer hours, being at home. But the time spent working, could be the time spent decompressing, as my drive home does for me. A nice ride to make my brain come to attention and get the darn Neil Young songs out of my head.

Let’s hope the road is fixed soon. And I can enjoy my spacious studio time on a steady basis again. But for now, I am lucky to have such a small, perfect space at home where I can keep moving on my work. Get it? Keep Moving?

My husband and I have gained some weight recently, and in spite our daughter’s pleas, ”Accept that you’re fat. Don’t buy a new scale,” we bought a new scale. A digital one to replace the one with the numbers on it. The old scale had this red needle that waved back and forth with uncertainty. We both felt confident we would know our true weight with the new scale. And surely it would tell us that losing weight would be easy.

It is a Weight Watchers scale. Well, having had a career in marketing before getting into the “art world,” there had to be some sort of catch. You know, “fish while the fish are biting.” Make people sign up when they know they’re getting fat.

Doug got on first. He had no idea he was that heavy. My weight, too, was way more than the old scale told me it was. Okay, we accepted it. Didn’t join Weight Watchers, but tried not to eat the fries.

The next day, Doug came down the stairs, exclaiming he had lost ten pounds! Oh, I guess Weight Watchers figured we would join after the first weigh-in. Then it would throw us a bone of encouragement the next day-hey this weight loss thing is a piece of cake! (so to speak)

My weight continued to drop one pound a day. Even though, on a routine trip to the doctor, the scale had me demoralized again. One day, our new digital scale read me the original first day weight again, and I yelled at it, saying, “What??? I thought I was losing weight?” And then, when I got on again, the scale read the lesser weight it had registered the day before.

Artificial intelligence is making its way into our lives. We are all nervous about it. We fear the power that computers may have over us. But none of us figured on it being easily conned. Like when I yelled at the scale, it was easily bullied. How about that?

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A friend of mine on Instagram recently asked me about my art rituals. The things I do to get into the frame of mind to work. I decided to write a blog post about it, since it couldn’t easily be put into a list. And being obsessive compulsive, I had to get it right.

Working at a studio 45 minutes from my home (although I have a second studio in my basement- another story-another set of rituals) I live in a culturally different place from the tattoo/piercing and cannabis servicing places – the little section of town where my “in town” studio is located. This space is in an old school house, built in the very early 1900s. I have an entire classroom to myself. I have painted the floors white to match the walls.

To get to my studio, I switch my thinking over to work. I take the backroads, never the freeway. When I get there, I open the door, take the dehumidifier down the hall to empty it, since I have no running water, turn off the fume eliminator, and take my jewelry off. I place rings around my watchband, fasten it and put bracelets in a formica tan/brown patchwork salad bowl on my long table. This is the table where I sit to contemplate the work I am doing at the time. The work is always about 15 feet in front of the table, on an easel. There is a row of waist high big tables beside the easel, upon which I put the paints, glass palette for working in oil paint, many containers of acrylic paints, assorted meat trays and yogurt containers for mixing the acrylic paints with plastic spoons. There are mediums and brushes and a huge plastic bucket for water, which I keep on the floor. I have to go down the hall to fill this, if I am working in water based paints that day. I always stand to paint. I never use a stool or table.

I believe that I am a channel for the work I do. I believe it does not come from me, but from something outside myself. Therefore, to achieve entry into this parallel universe, I put on some music made by someone who also believes a “zone” has to be reached in order to do good work. The music has to be loud.

Then I start mixing. I start painting. Moving back and forth to and away from the canvas. Pausing, usually, only for a lunch I have made and placed in the refrigerator next to the microwave. Always with a Diet Coke. Sometimes I will sit at the long table and spend time looking. Sometimes I can look for an hour. Sometimes, I get up suddenly and paint a piece of paper and place it temporarily over an area in the painting, before I commit to painting that color on the canvas. Most of the time, I glue the magazine pieces on the canvas as if they are paint, sometimes painting over them, sometimes leaving them alone. Squeegy-ing the glue out from under the magazine paper with a small triangle. And wiping the remainder off with a baby wipe.

After cleaning up, (down the hall), I turn out the lights and start the long drive home. I usually am very tired, and for a while, there was a specific intersection in Atlanta where I routinely had an anxiety attack. For many years, I avoided this intersection by going miles out of my way. Or stopping to ground myself in some store for re-entry into the “real” world. Now that intersection has no power over me. I think, though, it should have a sign that says, “End of Right Brain Thinking…You Are Now Entering The Suburbs. Be Sure To Get Yourself Together. NOW.”

Copyright 2017 Hollis Hildebrand-Mills All Rights Reserved

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Orion Crook is also an artist. He approached me in the Spring of this year, asking me to be a part of an exhibition he was in the midst of curating called, “Living Case.” He came to me, having seen my installation, “Afloat,” on the internet: the one I did for Ceres Gallery in New York’s Chelsea area. He was attracted to the one hundred squishy rings I made for my show.

Although this is a group show, and he is working with many artists, he is holding true to his vision of the organic flow of life and death. Of growth and decay.

Living Case
eyedrum Art and Music Gallery
88 Forsyth St SW
Atlanta, GA 30303.

August 15 – September 5, 2015
Opening reception:
August 15, 2015
7PM-10PM

Come out and support this event. It will be like nothing you have ever seen!

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2015 All Rights Reserved

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Collage by Hollis HIldebrand-Mills/ Oscar Statuette courtesy of AMPAS

“If you build it, they will come.” – A quote from the movie “Field Of Dreams.” I am a believer in my ability to make things happen.

I could give you many examples of how I manifest my dreams. If a person is certain something will happen, and is focused enough on the goal, the subconscious mind will make it so.

A recent example of this: Although I am allergic to cats, I love them. Disregarding the allergist’s advice, I had two cats for many years, until they both died of old age. I have been catless for fifteen years. With a friend the other night, she told me Siamese cat dander is different – I would not be allergic to Siamese cats! And suddenly the possibility of having another cat was there!

A few days later, I was downstairs, hanging the remaining unsold collages from my “Afloat” show. They had been stored in boxes at my studio and I wanted to enjoy them. I looked out the window and there was a Siamese cat coming up the steps from our woods! I practically fell off the ladder! No! Not again! Have I manifested this?

You long-time blogger friends know that Vince Wiggins and I collaborated to make my animated video, “Bread In The Sky.” Not totally believing it, skeptical, of course, but all the same, together we have been occasionally visualizing winning an Academy Award for our video. (In the category of Best Animated Short Film.) Yes, a far flung dream. Yes, a long shot. Even so, he and I were at it again recently and we visualized the entire red carpet thing. A few times. We got to the place where we each brought our Oscars home. Vince knew exactly where he was going to place his statuette. But there, I was uncertain. I did not know where I would put mine. Did this mean I do not want an Academy Award? I mean, come on! Everyone wants an Oscar! Or did it mean I just cannot imagine (literally) receiving the highest award in the world for a short film? I mean, really, “Bread In The Sky?” It would certainly shock the art critic who gave it a bad review! The critic told me a few months later that after seeing it again, it was the projection room I built that made him feel claustrophobic. It tainted his opinion. He rewrote the original review in a slightly more positive light.

I am not saying that work does not help make your dreams come true. That projection room was not easy to build. Not to mention the months of tedious animation time I put in for that 17 minute film. Anyone who has ever done this knows. But where to place Oscar? Do I want this? Me not filling in that one important blank…..get this down, folks….. of knowing where I am going to place my statuette, signifies doubt and doubt prevents manifestation. Do I want to win an Academy Award?

I have not seen the cat lately. He must have a home. Or, because I have bronchitis, the cat will not appear. Intentions. Do they affect the outcome of the dreams in your life?

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014 All Rights Reserved

DSCN0771We as a family were bumming around New York as we usually do, going to bookstores and thrift stores, stopping here and there, soaking in all the wonderfulness of Manhattan. I cannot remember the year, but our daughter was probably between six and ten at the time. Not quite up to my shoulder.

We were in SoHo, and happened upon a lovely neighborhood, as they all are in SoHo. We walked up the stairs to a consignment store. Or used clothing store, more aptly.

I picked out a particular shirt to try on. It was only $16.95. As I was in the dressing room, I tried on the simple gray plaid shirt. I honestly did not like the way it looked on me, nor did I have anything to go with it. I decided to put it back. As I was taking it off, regretting that I had to actually reject something to wear, (God forbid) I looked at the price tag. It was $1695.00!!! I silently said, “Yikes!”

I opened the curtain and the entire staff working in the store surrounded me. I merely said, “I didn’t have anything to go with it!”

We descended the stairs, walked down the block and I told my husband and daughter what happened. We wondered about the origins of such a shirt, (a celebrity owned it?Perhaps Madonna?) It looked rather worn. But in any event, (as my mother would say), we were aware that the workers in the store wanted to see who was behind the curtain trying on this plaid shirt!

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014 All Rights Reserved

IMG_2623People like different kinds of pies. And everyone has a favorite. My husband can assess your personality by what kind of pie you like. This method, he came up with in Junior High School and he calls it “Pie o logy.” I’ll start with Apple: You are a fairly basic, conservative person. However, if you are specific about the type of apples you like in your Apple Pie, such as Granny Smith or Macintosh, in any way specific, you have a secret side to you. Like you have a crush on Matt Lauer. Whose favorite pie, I am sure, is Apple. Cherry: You are a Liberal sort of person. You like National Public Radio. And you follow the party line. If you prefer a deep crust on your Cherry Pie, you are not as Liberal as you think you are. LIke you might secretly have voted for John McCain, but you like to look poor and publicly put down anything Republican. Lemon Meringue: A fellow blogger loves this pie and announced he would celebrate his art opening with eating lots and lots of Lemon Meringue Pie. What does this mean? My husband says if you like this kind of pie, you are a little acerbic, droll and witty. Not necessarily political. Judging from what I know about my internet friend, I would say this is correct. A few more. Banana Cream Pie: Your jokes fall flat. And there is a hint of exploration in the things you do. You go off the beaten path, a little. Like you might wear a safari congo hat. (An example of a joke falling flat!) Sweet Potato Pie is a bear hugging type person. And Key Lime, you are a kook. (Although I have been known to drive to the grocery store and buy Kenny’s Key Lime Pie at 10:0PM) Do not judge. There are just a few more: Rum-Raisin, as featured in the photograph above, can be something you love, but don’t eat very often. However, if it’s your favorite pie, get ready. You’ve got a problem. You light candles instead of using electric lights. And… no offense, (I am guilty here too) you are probably into the occult. And you like taxidermy as decor. You may even have a room full of dolls. Whipped cream on top of any pie tones down the characteristics. Pecan Pie means you are nutty. I guess loving a nut pie would be emblematic of nuttiness. But seriously, in Pie o logy, if your favorite pie is Pecan, you are on the off-beat side. My personal favorite is Blackberry Cobbler. He says that if you like this pie, you are wild. Blackberries indicate this. The crustiness of cobbler hints at being conservative, possessing humanity, and being centered or grounded. Lots of sugar forming a glaze on top means that you are sweet, but with resistance. My husband’s favorite is Strawberry Rhubarb: Meaning, if you like this, you are clever, brilliant and an off-the-wall radical! You might have a gun under your bed. You may be a Libertarian. I really don’t want to know this about him. We do not have a gun under our bed. Does this make me doubt the science of Pie o logy? You decide.   copyright 2014 Hollis Hildebrand-Mills All rights reserved. copyright 2014 “Pie o logy” Douglas C. Mills All reserved.