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During the pandemic, let’s say between the months of
April 2020 – present time (March 2021), like most people, I was stricken. No one knew how to cope. Each person had never been through anything like this. I was coping in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

For the past year and a half, I had been planning a solo show in New York at Ceres Gallery. It was entitled BENEATH. It became obvious that the show scheduled for April 28-May 23, 2020 was not going to take place. That the city, truly, was “beneath”. Even my paintings, done on large canvases and framed collages on paper, had little spores surrounding skulls and a certain amount of gore. All this coming from The Universe, knowing before I did, what was to come. A topical body of work, but one that was to be seen virtually, otherwise held back, until the virus was finished crippling our lives.

The photo below was taken in my basement studio. My downtown studio was “locked down”. I have moved some of the work for this show to the downtown studio and some, like the above, “Echinacea” is in our home, in a studio I had created years ago, in case I couldn’t get to the one in the the city of Atlanta.

The show will take place, once again scheduled for New York, this time in 2022, in September. A year and a half from now. I will include this work, adding and subtracting pieces to fit the times as this work did for April of 2020.

IMG_2872.jpeg I have been invited to participate in Art Papers 20th Annual Art Auction. The collage above is what I have donated. It is made up of magazine pieces, paint, pencil and pen on board. Framed in a 2 and 1/2 ” deep floater frame. The piece was started and completed last week. (2019) It measures 5″ x 5″ and is titled “It took So Long To Bake It”

You can make a bid for it online if you go to

The live auction is on March 2, 2019, 7:30 PM at 200 Peachtree St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA

I hope you can join the fun! It is a very special art magazine and I am participating with a lot of very talented artists!

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.

IMG_7473My 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?


I recently ordered these three “on sale” half gallons of acrylic paint from the art supply store at an amazingly inexpensive price. They are not the colors I would choose in a tube, because there is a certain amount of white in them and I like paints that are a purer hue. But since I am working on big canvases, I thought I would give it a try. Plus, each half gallon was only $7.00!!!

The blue has potential, as it is the most true to the Cerulean Blue you find in a tube.

I realize this is not interesting to someone who does not paint. But I probably lost that person a few minutes ago anyway.

My large canvas ( speaking to the folks still with me ,) is starting to collect collage pieces. Amazing huh? I figure my life’s work has been devoted to some form of collage, whether it be in video form or mixing it with paint. So yes, I started cutting out pieces from magazines ( old fashion magazines ) lying around the studio and all of a sudden, my heart started beating a little faster. Yes painting needs collage! I have spoken!

All Rights Reserved Hollis Hildebrand-Mills Copyright 2015

wrestling 1

Wrestling. The distillation of good and evil. There is a good guy and a bad guy.

I have a good friend who is a wrestler. I went to one of his matches the other night and I was totally engrossed. Rolls of unravelling toilet paper and crepe paper tossed into the ring. Neon mohawks, tattoos, boos and hisses. Large blubbery thumps and noisy crashes. Flips and other acrobatics. Primitive, you say? It was wonderful.

Good and bad. Not so in real life? My new discovery is, that, even as the managers in the wrestling company do not enter the ring without knowing how to take a fall, the same is true with life. After years of seeing the character flaws in people and sorting through the many nuances, I have come to this conclusion: You are either good or bad.

Take a look at what I consider good. My doctor changes out of his Halloween costume during a crazy party and even though it is in the middle of the night, he makes an emergency house call. Good. The friend next door listens to my woes, hearing me tell the same story again and again. Good. The fellow artist shares her own techniques, gallery contacts and juried show opportunities. Good. The person at the grocery store when my green bean bag breaks. This good person hurries away to the produce section at the back of the store and selects new green beans, clumps at a time. For me! Good.

Ok, you say, where is the bad? And, by the way, I am the one in the ring here, I am only talking about myself and my experiences. I take the falls. I fall against the ropes. These people could be doing nice things for others. But I doubt it. Here we go: The person says good things to me, bad things about me to someone else. Bad. The person lies to me. Bad. One enters my studio, goes through my things, snoops around without my permission. Oh and steals my Booker T. and the MGs disc from my CD player! Bad. You are getting it. One more. A person cheats me in a business deal. Bad. Oh, I used to say, the person is from that type of culture. (Could be this culture.)… That is part of the game. Nope. Not anymore. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Back to wrestling. I go around now, doing the things that cause me to occasionally interact with people and I think of wrestling. No one is passing out rolls of toilet paper for me to stream at the good people.Thank God. And I don’t get the urge to throw a pie in a person’s face here and there. Thank God, again. But, good and bad. It keeps things simple.

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2015 All Rights Reserved

This “Pie O Logy” post was one of my most liked among the readers. I thought I would reblog it. And include the newest entry: Blueberry!

Hollis Hildebrand-Mills

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…

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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

ImageOn television, when there is a haunted house show being shown, featuring a
“specialist” carrying around something like a ghost detector and the black and white video is shot so that spirits can be spotted with infrared heat, I am too scared to watch.

When I go to New York, I go for business, hanging my art show and then I go back three weeks later, to take it down.

I used to stay at the Salisbury Hotel. The staff knows me by name. It is centrally located in Midtown and the breakfast is luxurious, very inexpensive and on the second floor.

But during the last three or four years, I became fond of staying in a boutique hotel in the Lower East Side. Close to SoHo and Little Italy, and the new gallery district on Orchard Street, I could do a lot of walking. It had been the hotel of choice for rock stars. I have the love of celebrity in my blood, therefore seeing Kirsten Dunst on the steps was exciting also.

Nostalgia has its grip, though, and one New York stay, The Salisbury beckoned me back. Just for the weekend, it said. It was to be a very short trip since this solo show consisted of a video being shown across a seventeen foot wall, and most of the take down was fairly simple.

That night at the Salisbury Hotel, in my room, my by nightstand, I became unexpectedly cold. In fact, at first, only cold in one spot of the room. Intensely cold. I asked the front desk for extra blankets. Then more, more. I think I had ten extra blankets piled up on my side of the bed. I kept trying to jump out of the cold spot, but it did not release me. My husband, who was with me this time, was not affected. In fact, when he was in the bathroom, I screamed “Come out this minute!” Terrified he came out. I told him about the intense cold and he was annoyed at something so trivial.

You would think the hotel staff would be irritated at having to send up so many blankets to one room. Maybe it was because they knew us.

I put a camera next to my side of the bed the second night (I can’t believe I stayed there another night!) I told myself, I would aim in the darkness and take a picture when I woke up. I woke up in pitch black, aimed the camera but was too afraid to take the picture. More precisely, too afraid at what would show up.

The next day as I was leaving, I called the front desk and said, “Our room was abnormally cold the last few nights!” “What room were you in?” I told him. He pauses and let out a sigh. “Ah!”, he said with a little mischief in his voice……….“Room 237!”

After I wrote this story and I was searching around for a visual, I found out most of the horror movie, “The Shining” took place in non other than Room 237! I knew nothing about this! Never saw the movie! It was a total surprise. But let me caution you, the weirdness of this tale is true and I would not book my honeymoon hotel in a room with the number 237!

ImageMy roommate in art school, Judy LaBrasca took this photograph of me. A headache caused me to lie down. I had drawn the blinds, she said. Giving this picture a silent film star quality.

Judy and I were in Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Hotel together. On the ninth floor. At 23rd and Walnut. A grim corner. We painted the walls of our nine by twelve foot bathroom with Chinese Red enamel. The pale green toilet, sink and tub were just the right hue to interact with the Chinese Red. And my friend Bill Cohen ruined the aesthetic by drawing a peace sign on the light fixture. A by-product of Bill’s education: no appreciation of the color interaction.

My roommate and I had been collecting metal bottle caps. I think Judy started it. Soon we had so many, we dumped the bottle caps all over the floor. We placed our black throw rugs over them. A sign outside the bathroom door said “Before Entering, Put On Shoes.”

Behind the closed door, while our visitors were in the bathroom, we could hear the slushing of metal being plowed through. A heavy but slightly tinny sound. After all, the bottle caps were at least four inches deep! When not stepping on the rugs, which protected a person’s feet from tipping, one had to get footing by stepping on the floor and pushing the bottle caps in the direction one wanted to go! Kind of like walking through snow. But not on snow.

Art school, I am learning, is a very different sort of education. This suddenly is on my mind because our daughter just went off to college yesterday! What I lack in critical thinking from not having had a liberal arts education (such as my daughter and Bill Cohen), I make up for in creativity.

All those hours of life drawing, design and constructing modular pieces that “worked!” 
These classes went into the young art student’s brain in ways still waiting to be revealed.

Judy LaBrasca is now and has always been an artist. She lives in Maine. I am sure she, like I am, is tired of the bottle caps and doesn’t decorate with them anymore. I cannot speak for her usage of that wonderful color combination. I still have deep respect.

And while it may seem like I am trashing Bill Cohen, he received a degree from the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to law school in Boston. He has his own successful law practice in Pennsylvania.


Copyright 2014   Hollis Hildebrand-Mills   All rights reserved.