Archives for category: musings

IMG_7930In my room. Senior year at Moore College of Art and Design. Having my best friend and her husband over for dinner. The dinner I cooked in my room at twenty years of age. My best dinner was: canned green beans, noodles, ground beef and canned stewed tomatoes all mixed together. Fruit salad. Accompanied by a drink of homemade kaluah and ice cream, which was called a Polar Bear because of the color white the drink turned when I added ice-cream to the already vodka soaked liqueur. I was certain this dinner was a winner. Also my everyday ( even for special occasions ) outfit was Army Navy bells with an Army Navy turtleneck sweater. That was it. In my youth, what I didn’t know was vast. I wish I were that naive and at the same time, so certain of things as I was then.

As art students, we carried our cameras everywhere. But we only took B and W’s which we would develop and print later. If there was dust on the enlarger ( as is in this print ), we would hit it with the correct shade of spot tone. ( I had no patience with that. ) There are no photos of my best friend and her husband at this dinner. However she insisted that her late husband’s FAVORITE dinner was that canned green bean concoction.

Sadly, my best friend and I lost touch. I don’t make kaluah anymore. And I don’t do that electric fry pan green bean thing anymore either. I have grown more food-sophisticated, more clothing aware, but I have to say, nothing in the world can come close to the bursting enthusiasm of being twenty and the ever-expanding years of possibility and adventure ahead. The Army Navy sweater and pants combo, not bad either. That, I would wear today.

IMG_0536Look at the nice looking couple above. They were our next door neighbors. They left last week to move into a new house. Over the nineteen years we’d lived next door to each other, we became friends. We knew each other’s family secrets. We were in and out of each other’s houses. The one time I actually passed out due to drinking too much, it was when Ed (names have been changed) mixed martinis going down like water. I was on my feet and then I wasn’t. We acted like we were twenty. Eating cookies and brownies with untold ingredients. Drinking wine and OTC Wild Indian Cherry Bark Cough Syrup into the night. Dancing in each other’s basements, (Linda was from Philly too) decorated with lava lamps and disco lights. Yes we will miss them.

When we first moved into the neighborhood, I was skeptical. Both my husband and I had lived in “Intown Atlanta” for so long, I had the prejudice that those who live in Intown Atlanta have, that somehow Intown is a so much more diverse, culturally aware place to live. That the suburbs are boring and very “white male”. Our neighborhood may not be typical of the suburbs, but diversity here means more than having a lesbian living across the street.

In addition to gay couples owning several of the homes here, you practically need a passport to enter. Not that there is a gate at the entrance. There isn’t. People who live here are from all over the world. Our dog smells the incense from the Indian woman walking far down the sidewalk before I even see her in her sari. Three generations of Chinese people live in the house a few down from ours. Iraqi males still live across the way. Nigerian, Israeli, Colombian, Russian neighbors. I think Doug and I, along with our boogying friends next door were the only English speaking people living in this area. I am exaggerating, but you get the idea.

Anyway, we bonded with Linda and Ed. Ed even helped me put up sheetrock walls at the former location of Eyedrum Gallery when I built the projection room for my video, “Bread In The Sky.” The small gallery was hard to split into two spaces, but Ed made it happen. Linda accompanied me to New York City once when business demanded I go on short notice. She and I go to lunch frequently, which I hope will continue even though they don’t live here anymore. Their friendship means a lot to Doug and me. They will never be replaced. It was one of those times, when, we knew what we had when we had it. And not until after it was gone.

fullsizeoutput_2868 This is the finished “mixed media” painting-number 10 of my series of crosses. When I showed the series in New York last year, “The Cross Series”, I only showed nine. Actually nine was the perfect number for the gallery. I did this one this year. I think this painting reflects the political climate of the time. It is definitely more frenetic and complicated. It took longer to resolve.

There is a lot of work for me to do. I am planning on doing four smaller paintings, each assigned to a different venue. The deadline for these is in about six weeks. Sometimes, my best work is work done very quickly. Less overworked, less second guessed, more spontaneous. Hope I don’t have the same struggles with these as I did with the above work.

The good news, is, the freeway in Atlanta is fixed! Or will be by next Monday, therefore I will be going back into town more often to work. No more clogged surface roads, clogged sinuses due to bad ventilation in the basement. Everyone was using the backroads causing sinkholes. More blocked traffic. The world, at least locally will return to the way things were.

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Here is my empty studio. I am now in New York and the paintings are in a vacant gallery, shade pulled over their shadow boxes, door to the space locked.

Tomorrow they will be installed on the walls of Ceres Gallery. And on Tuesday, the show opens.

I know what went into the work. I know how much I attended to the detail of organizing this exhibition. What I don’t know, is how well these works will be received by an audience.

I always paint with part fear, part courage. It’s never a neutral mechanical thing. Oh, the mixing is. I try for what is called internal logic. The colors have to relate to one another. And that’s fairly scientific. Composition has certain rules as well. But the overall letting go of the work! The turning it out into the world! The calling of it finished!

Now they are finished. I called them so. All lined up silently behind the black shade, behind the locked door. Waiting to perform. They aren’t mine anymore. I have no control.

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Here is Orion Crook at the closing reception of his curatorial exhibition “Living Case.” His face is framed by one of the rings I used in my installation, “Afloat” in New York a few years back. He used these squishy rings I made in a different way, making them a part of one of his themes, art is life, subject to decay. They worked well with the partially rough and jagged walls of eyedrum.

The rings also gave a person slight disorientation while entering the gallery, as he put them on the floor as well. Not knowing where the ceiling, floor and walls were, as these rings ran throughout…over, under and around the gallery.

I am very happy to have been a part of such a refreshingly creative group exhibition, filled with music, visual art, living creatures, plants, lighting, costumes, neon and performance art! An asset to Atlanta’s “art scene!”

image Here is a little section of a very large painting I am working on for my April solo exhibition in New York. It is acrylic right now but soon will have a coat of oil paint to enrich the surface.

Copyright 2015 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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As you can see, the pallet is in shades of pink. My usual: Dark to light, bright to dull. I can’t say that this sojourn back into the metaphysical world of painting is easy. It’s incredibly hard work. But so far, after the struggle and the dread. The knocking over the paint bucket and the general awkwardness of it all, it is finally giving back to me. The work is giving back to ME! This is why I keep going.

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2015 All Rights Reserved

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Above is a photograph of my art studio in town, all cleaned up and ready for work! The accumulation of wooden stretcher frames, at the far side of the big table on the right is waiting for me to stretch canvas over them. My next solo show is in New York, April, 2016.

This past year has been rough for me. My mother died four days before Christmas. The darkest time of the year. Our sweet daughter left for college in the fall.

I aptly named this section of my blog, “Piece Of My Heart.” And have written things such as “Vince Vaughn Bought My Daughter’s Prom Dress”, “The Shredding Skirt” and “Pie O Logy.” I did get carried away, and may continue to do so.

Even though it has only been a few months, I think, “Did I really tell the world about the mining accident?” (Now, now. I did not say it was I who had the relative who took one step back too far!) I could use some relatives now. Some relatives who will stretch my canvases and tell me what a good a painter I am!

I have thought about giving up the blog. But I enjoy it so much.

Although you might think i should post my painting in progress, ( and I may do so from time to time ), I would rather keep each post an artwork unto itself. Painting is totally separate from the keyboard.

I need to get back to work.

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014 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