What does mixed-media art mean to you?
Mixed-media art offers me the opportunity to experiment with no limits. I feel very free, knowing there is no right and no wrong. I work intuitively, adding and taking away layers while exploring the multi-faceted dreamscape of my imagination. There is so much opportunity for expression.
How long have you been a mixed-media artist?
My mother had me combining things while creating ever since I can remember, so I guess I have been playing in mixed-media all along! However, it was the mid 1980′s when I first thought of myself as an artist. That was when I started to add colour backgrounds to my calligraphy and my work began to evolve through mixed-media. I used watercolours, gouache, acrylics and oil pastel to create abstract pieces that combined colour and words.
How has your art impacted or enhanced your life?
I have always expressed myself visually, even as a small child. I had not planned to become an artist, but when I look back, it was a natural progression. Now that I am a full time artist, there is no separation between what I do and who I am. I live, eat, breathe creativity and I feel so lucky. I am able to express my inner self in my day to day life, which makes me very happy!
What are a few of the mixed-media supplies you find yourself using most?
- Golden acrylic paints and mediums
- Collage elements
- Canvas, paper, thread
- India ink, calligraphy dip nibs & ruling pens
- My own digitally altered images
Who are some of your favorite mixed-media artists?
There are so many! Here are just a few:
- Seth Apter
- Anne Bagby
- Leslie Marsh
- Dave McKean
- Bridgette Guerzon Mills
- Julie Prichard
- Jeanie Tomanek
- Michelle Ward
- Mira M. White
- Judy Wilkenfeld
What makes your mixed-media art unique?
I am fascinated with myth and legend. My mixed-media art is “often medieval in mood” and has a narrative quality. My own calligraphic “hand” is my trademark. It could be completely legible or partly concealed, but it is almost always there. I don’t feel that my work is complete until the text is added. Sometimes I want to emphasize a message with this added layer – sometimes the words are purely for mystery or pattern.
Where can we find you?
About Holly Dean: Holly Dean creates beautiful art. While contemporary in style, her mixed media paintings, book art, sculpture and altered images embody an age-old quality: an underlying connection to the mythology that shapes her life. Organic layers of collage and paint conceal and reveal fluid lines of calligraphy or shapely curves of gothic letter forms. The inclusion of text in Holly’s work is pivotal, offering the viewer an extraordinary window of insight.
Holly exhibits her work regularly in local galleries, museums, shops and restaurants of Eastern Ontario, including the lovely village of Merrickville, where she lives. She takes her art on the road to exhibitions and fine art and craft shows far and wide.
Flip a page in an art magazine or book and you might find yourself face to face with Holly’s distinctive work. She has graced the television screen more than once, enthusing about her life as an artist and her distinctive style.
Holly’s art can be found in the collections of universities, churches, retreats, private homes and businesses. The exclusive paintings and ornaments she creates for Cirque du Soleil are collected world-wide.
She acquired her artistic knowledge and skills through an amalgam of life experience, workshops, study, practice and extensive research, and is, for the most part, self taught. On a creative quest, Holly is constantly experimenting in her art and swears that there are not enough days in a lifetime to pursue all the ideas that fill her imagination.
She spent her childhood and early adult years in rural Ontario, not far from Oshawa, where she was born. When she moved to the village of Merrickville she was thrilled to join its vibrant artistic community.
If you drop in to the Studio at Greyweathers, Holly will eagerly show you around her “cathedral to art” and share insights about her work. She might be busy working on a new series of paintings, hand-binding Muse Journals or making ornaments for Cirque du Soleil. Her life is a flurry of creativity.