Everglow

Contagion-182x152cm-oil-on-canvas

Contagion

Saturated colors curl into each other, fresh blood and cobalt, kryptonite green and gerbera daisy golden yellow.  The impact of such primary hues on a single canvas registers associations with joy, then horror sinks in.  What appears to be the large face of a magnolia is being devoured and invaded by the surrounding swirl of colors.  In this piece, “Contagion” by Laurel Holloman, the curdling, red shape appears to be bleeding out of the flower’s center.  The warm balance of golden yellow and purple in each petal are slowly taken over by red veins.

“There is the threat of violence,” says Holloman of the paintings in her recently opened show, Everglow, at Museum Jan van der Togt in Amsteleveen, Netherlands.  Holloman’s travels, exploring nature and photographing animals from Big Sur, California to snowshoeing in Aspen, informed her perspective on the state of natural affairs.  “I wanted to explore seasons that were out of order, and a feeling that something so innocent is unaware of the destruction around it.”  The deer, and the other featured pelican and seal, are creatures she met along the way, witnessing environments that become stranger each year.

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Slipstream

Holloman’s acclaim came from her large, meditative works, often focused on inner landscapes.  This theme wove into both the abstracts paintings and the faces in her realistic portraits.  The Fifth Element, Holloman’s 2014 series, explored the intersection between science and nature, but “Everglow is a more developed journey in that it goes deeper into the harm humans can do to the earth and the creatures in it.”

“I feel my earlier work is my attempt to find an escape from a chaotic world,” says Holloman.   All the world Inside (2013) was dominated by cooler colors (one prominent red piece was a deep merlot), and The Fifth Element featured primary colors softened to the texture of the Northern Lights.  “I was more interested in creating chaos for this show, because it was the only way to tell the story I wanted to tell.”  Influenced by Adrien Ghenie’s intersection of classical realism and distortion, and Herbert Brandl’s expressive landscapes, Holloman marries the realistic threat of a disrupted environment and the distance that innocence allows.  “I wanted to make each piece a bit of a fairy tale in which there are both innocence and violence.”

Finding this balance was a challenge.  It took nearly six months for Holloman “to balance the innocence and the violence and keep my style from before.”  She can now see the thread between 2013’s “Swell,” an oceanic abstract, and the images in Everglow.  “Swell” diverted from her other large works.  Its power didn’t come from a sense of presence and majesty, but from the depiction of a dark ocean void and the motion of curling waves.  “Silent Spring” and “Light in August” feature a serene, and realistically styled, deer amidst an abstraction of violent colors.  There is a section that feels like a dark void where each color is born.  It is, “a world where the season was out of order and I wanted a feeling that [the deer’s] world could get sucked away at any moment.”  The dark shape of looms behind the unaware creature and is poised to overtake the disordered environment.

 Capricious & Elegance

A different mood characterizes a series of acrylic floral portraits in Everglow, a progression that feels like one flower opening up.  The much anticipated beauty of an opening flower is carefully looked after, not left to be ravaged like the natural elements in other works in the show.  This “raw beauty of foliage” is drenched in feminine hues (bold lipstick and petal pink) and “screams ‘woman’ or ‘life’” to the artist.  “Capricious,” who’s reference image Holloman photographed so closely that it became abstract, channels “the sensuality in the painting.”  She says that these counterparts to “Contagion” are “meant to feel and look at what we can ruin so easily if we are not careful.”  Holloman took the creation of this show as an opportunity to “push the envelope on style,” both contrasting her shows from the past, as well as pieces within the Everglow themselves.  “It is the first rule that I decided to break so that I could grow as an artist,” she says.  The stylistic progression of the show is akin to storytelling, the final chapter of which is a series of backlit LED paintings “symbolic of global warming,” meant to “achieve sort of a celestial feel to the finished installation.”

Suspended Animation & The Butterfly Effect

Holloman’s reverence for nature and attention paid to the environment comes from her parents who valued being outdoors.  “I feel more balanced in nature.  Hiking or camping is something I have done since I was a little girl.”  While she envisions herself leaving Los Angeles someday, she does “live near the beach and that keeps me sane for now.”

 

Everglow – Laurel Holloman

Museum Jan van der Togt

Amsteleveen, Netherlands

 

Laurelholloman.net

 

 

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Tattoos by Court

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When I interviewed Court at Morristown Tattoo I didn’t expect to meet a creative person who appreciates a 9-5 schedule.  The very word “artist” brings to mind someone who revels in chaos and uncertainty, and somehow comes out of it with awe-inspiring works.  Instead, Court finds structure to be appealing to his creative process.

Originally from Calisle, Pennsylvania, “the last town before the middle of nowhere,” Court gravitated to tattooing because of punk rock culture. Now, living in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia, he tattoos at various shops in South Eastern, PA, and had been a guest artist at the Cezanne Tattoo Convention in Southern France three times.

In the late ‘90s, Court was a fine art student at Kutztown University by day, and a tattoo apprentice by night.  At Paradise Lost, he tattooed “anything that came in the door,” an approach to the art form that has changed overtime.  Nowadays, “It’s become more niche centered,” as many artists choose to become specialized in one type of tattoo, either by the style of art or subject matter.  “Fifteen years ago, some [artists] had a style that they liked.  But now, some people just do dot work, or lady heads.  ‘If you want a lady head, go to that guy!’”  While Court does have some preferences, Paradise Lost instilled in him the philosophy of tackling any request that is within his abilities.  He does especially enjoy fluid lettering and decorative floral images, but his portfolio displays an array of subject matter and styles.  Currently, he’s particularly inspired by art nouveau.

With the internet, more people research an artist based on their tattoo specialty. Smartphones have also changed the game.  Decorating the walls of Norristown Tattoo, where Court is stationed today, are “flash” images, historically springboards for clients to choose an image.  Now, people come in with their phone and a collection of images they’ve researched themselves, and flash has become more like wallpaper.

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(red pencil sketches by Court)

While Court has a masters of fine arts from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts he doesn’t consider his painting and career in the tattoo world to be directly intertwined.  Still, each form of art involves the human form.  Court’s paintings are studies of the human body, and he also designed prosthetic medical contraptions of an erotic nature.

The social aspect of tattooing versus the solitary nature of fine art is also a big difference.  Mostly, Court enjoys tattooing because he’s a people person.  “It’s different from another art form, like painting or graphic design.  There’s not the same level of personal interaction.”

Court and his wife enjoy traveling, for his work and for recreation.  While she speaks Spanish fluently, Court speaks Spanish well.  Still, tattooing is a different story.  “The communication becomes very strange,” says Court.  “Lengthy conversations become less surface-y, it becomes difficult.  And I don’t speak French.  That communication thing becomes very weird when I’m tattooing someone and I’m not able to talk to them.”  When either party can’t speak a common language well “it’s harder to connect.”  That connection is what reveals the nuances of their likes and dislikes easier.  Still, Court enjoys working in different countries in guest spots at his friend’s shops and at conventions.

The solid relationships that Court has developed over the years, and over his quality of work, are what make customers return.  Sometimes with their kids who are getting tattoos.  Reflecting on that turn of events, working on his clients now adult sons and daughters, Court says, “You develop relationships.  That’s one of things that I like about the job.  You sit with somebody for an hour, four hours sometimes.”  These relationships are built on art and Court’s ability to express for others what they can’t for themselves, permanently on their skin.

 

tattoosbycourt.com

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