Archives for posts with tag: art

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?

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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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Last Friday, I began a collaboration with Grady Haugerud, doing “mixed media” artwork on canvas. Atlanta’s influential, prominent artist, after living and working in New York for a few years, Grady works on his art in Panama now. When he lived in Atlanta, he and I travelled in the same art circles. We knew the same people, artist retreats, galleries and stories. At one time, he collaborated with another painter friend of mine and the results were amazing.

I had never met Grady Haugerud. After he moved to Panama, I gradually got to know him on social media, mainly on Facebook. We would post photos of our paintings and he liked my work; I liked his. We obviously shared the same aesthetic. As well as heritage. He’s half Norwegian and I am close to half.

Anyway, back to last Friday. We met each other for the first time. And for a few days, we worked on the above painting together. It is called “Multiple Gorillas,” oil, acrylic, collage, charcoal, China marker, graphite, pastel and sharpie on canvas, 36” x 48”, 2016.

All Rights Reserved,   Hollis Hildebrand-Mills/Grady Haugerud,  Copyright 2016  

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First off, I am very pleased I chose to exhibit THE CROSS SERIES. I think it was my best show. The nine pieces fit nicely in the gallery. The horizontal cross bars of the crosses lined up at the same level, to enable the eye to transition the corners of the space smoothly. I hung the paintings low, so as to illustrate the direct correlation between the viewer and the vertical section in each piece. I think it worked!

I enjoyed the feedback. Although I was only present for half the time during the run of the show, and I missed a very important members meeting, where I would have received direct feedback, the word of mouth was wonderful! Stefany Benson, the gallery director told me that she would overhear pieces of conversation, indicating only positive reactions.

One significant reaction was from one of two of the most important art critics in New York: Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine. He “liked” two of my posts on Instagram. I posted paintings on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, my Facebook page and on my blog here on WordPress from the show during the exhibition’s run, knowing my work would be publicized in the twenty-first century way. But I had no idea someone as important and influential would respond. When I thanked him on Instagram for “liking” my work on the two posts, he “liked” the thank you post as well, a post of a different painting from the series!

My mission with my art has always been to aim as high as I can. My ability will restrict me to the level where I am meant to settle. But the attempt to create the highest art and stick to the purist art I am capable of, is my goal. Sales? At the closing, where I was present, brokers on video chat were roaming around taking video and discussing my paintings with their clients. Who knows?

But for now, Jerry Saltz has me feeling guilty for not working on my new stuff. Pretty much all the time. Isn’t that a good feeling?

1. Gabriel.jpgAbove is the signature image for all publicity, concerning my upcoming New York show. I am exhibiting a select group of paintings from my series, “The Cross Series.”

The group totals nine paintings, each 4’ x 6’. The work is basically abstract, as you can see, with the cross as a grid, anchoring the abstraction.

As I say in my press release, “The cross is the most basic of symbols, primitive, in that it coincidentally represents vertical man/woman standing in a horizontal world… The possibly religious content of the paintings takes a back seat to the form. The cross does not merely belong to Christianity.”

Still, the icon looms powerful enough to be incongruous with the sometimes street art and wild posting-like abstraction.

It has been a long haul, my sweet blog followers. I started out doing a series of work based on my association with my clothes and my memories. I even completed several paintings and a few drawings, using this theme. And I am not ditching it. I have decided to return to it after my New York show. BUT, with a method of painting very much like the painting above. I think I had to do the “Cross Series” first and hit my stride, then return to a personal theme like clothing/memories. The work I previously did on the clothing series was far too figurative, not enough depth and a tad illustrative. I was unhappy with it and the work dragged on and on. No enthusiasm.

If you are in the area, the show opens Tuesday, April 26th. The reception for me is Thursday, April 28th. from 6-8 PM. It is at Ceres Gallery, 547 W 27th Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. It will be up for about three weeks, coming down May 21st.

I am in the process of working on my website. My website needs updating. It still has “Afloat” as my current work. I use collage in “The Cross Series” also, but with paint, (oil and acrylic) charcoal and pencil. It seems that collage has become my life’s work, having used it with video, paint or strictly cut paper from magazines.

I had a friend in art school who called me the Queen Of The Nonsequitur. I think my love of collage has something to do with that: mixing pieces normally not together, making things work.

Copyright 2016 Hollis Hildebrand-Mills All Rights Reserved

Photograph courtesy of Tom Meyer Photography

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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

IMG_3383 Mixing up colors. Dark to light. Bright to dull. I miss the days when the yogurt cups had plastic lids.

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2015 All Rights Reserved