Tracing my visual expression, consciously and unconsciously, has its own narrative starting in childhood and, to an extent, continues to escape me. Even with the artistic journey through to formal graduation, from St. Martin's College of Art and Design in London, all that seemed to be consistent was the presence of sensual imagery, a vibrant palette, and a narrative that reflected shifting figures residing in the shadows of my mind.
London has continued to be instrumental in shaping both my fine art as well as fashion. Regarding the aesthetic, social and psychological elements of my art, the posh and shady characters of the clubbing subculture, the dive bars of the city – all seem to activate in me what Jung called 'Shadow' and what Freud called 'ID'. These dark magnetic, narcissistic strangers – with their hedonistic and carnal desires – slip into my mind, as does the allure of the shadowy glamour of a social scene, which all too often seems to lose its glimmer in the cold stark reality of daylight. But so does the interplay between the sexes, the yin and yang of Jung's Animus and Anima, and the battle of my 'ID' and 'Superego'. It all becomes a waking dreamscape of shifting illusions, of smoke and mirrors, pulling me in to new corridors of my unconscious mind.
My works, be it fine art or fashion, most often reflect the collective psyche. Whether representation or works of expressionism – where burlesque, film, photography, high art, pop art, and fashion become their own salad stream of consciousness – all of which seem to infiltrate my imagery as a network of hallucinations. As for the deeper tension and colliding forces in my work, those who know of Carl Jung may understand the games that our Animus Anima and Shadow play in the interplay of our inner and outer worlds. I feel and project an inner subjective tension in the form of various archetypal narratives, each with their own flavor of contemporary pathology; be it gender ambiguity, or a crises of emotional and sexual expression. One thing that may be clear to an intuitive observer is that the smartly dressed characters that appear on the canvas or reworked photography are often the unconscious warring parts of me enacting their dramas, taking turns exercising their special flavor of dominance.
As for my style, my sartorial formal training always cloaks my imagery. Some who view and have collected my work have appreciated and spoken of the uniqueness of this collision of the foregoing influences. As for fine art, some have inquired if such artists as: Man Ray, Klimt, Schiele, Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Basquiat, LaChapelle have had an influenced my work. And there are those that see me more as a solitary social voyeur similar to that of French painter, caricaturist, and illustrator Henri de Toulouse –Lautrec, who in Paris slipped, as well, in between his enticing provocative images of social decadence.
I prefer the intimacy of painting small works that can invade important small places in homes and well-appointed cafes, bars, private clubs and fashion salons where people explore their desires and secretly reinvent themselves accordingly. I like to convey felt temperatures through colors and textures that I choose to make the artwork look as if it's alive and breathing with a pulse. With a lot of my work, the figures are looking at you or you're having a glimpse into moments usually unseen. I also love working large in respect to commissions, where I can investigate personal space and the private world of others and leave something of myself behind. As for fashion, I view my works as it relates to my clients, with a similar excitement and intimacy.
My art is an extension of myself and just as others may 'journal', I express my feelings visually and cathartically. I imagine that was something that sustained me while travelling to the United States and to such complex subcultures found in cities like Atlanta and New York City. As a developing personality, in such complex alluring social environments, it is easy to become something you are not. And so I am not surprised that there continues to be a therapeutic quality to what I do and that, often unconsciously, the works are rendered from this perspective.
My style intentionally remains visually primitive and, at times, somewhat childlike with a playful bright pallet. It is a style that is disarming and has a tendency to pull the viewer in before they are aware of 'what' they have been pulled into. It is "My own Modern Pop Style – fanciful at times – of a visual contemporary expression that explores both social and personal pathology, as well as a narcissistic alienation." And that leads me to another subject – and that is what people may think of my art...
Generally what the viewer is actually encountering is the various parts of myself in a visual conscious and unconscious dialogue resulting from the collision of my inner and outer worlds. As a consequence, it is difficult even for me at times to distinguish my projections from my rational understanding of what is happening around me. Though my art may be often seen as overtly sexual and can be reacted to with dismissive predictable juvenile misogyny, it actually has many symbolic layers to it.
What the viewer may not be aware of, is that although the themes can be viewed primarily as impersonal and sexually dark (woman by herself – or woman on woman) much of my art exhibits quite the opposite. It depicts a singular and collective intimacy. It expresses a contemporary sanctuary and freedom. By 'sanctuary' I mean that many of my images (contemporarily stylized and symbolically rendered) are not unlike the ancient Greek maidens who ritually escaped their male psychological bondage and sexual enslavement, venturing off to the hills into a world of their own sorority and making. It was there they honoured Dionysus and danced in a ritualistic, ecstatic frenzy. In such pathological times, we all need both a personal and collective escape, self acceptance and sanctuary.
It is secondary what certain men may think of my art. Time will tell the value or the relevance of my work. And 'Who" is to say if I will have a break out moment? The way I see it, regardless of professional success, I will always have a compulsion to continue visually expressing myself in my "My own Modern Pop Style" – be it figuratively, abstractly, or via amended photographic images.
It is my job to find the Holly Albright's of the world, to discover those unique artists who reach deeper and darker, who exist in a far more abstract and interesting landscape. I could spend a lifetime dwelling in the galleries of each mind, the subconcious warehouse filled with artists who cannot scream loud enough. CGI films will never capture my intellectual curiosity as much as the eccentric works of artists like Holly. 'Special' and 'Gifted' are simply words we use to describe such talented beings, but the truth lies within each passionate brushstroke and drop of blood. I've interviewed many, and I will interview many more – but what sets Holly apart from most is her subtle ability to make men squirm. Indeed, her art is powerful and her imagination is ripe for the picking. Her views are not bound by limitations or restriction. Holly's work reflects the salty underbelly of our sexual conscience, shades of both Gustav Klimt and Robert McGinnis intertwined in shadow. I believe Holly will emerge as a premier international sensation in due time. Until then she will continue to dominate the supernatural psyche, to haunt our impulses and mysogynistic desires. It has been an honor to work with her and I wish her nothing but great success and longevity in all her career endeavors...