Laurel Holloman's Brush with the Abstract: Exclusive Interview
Are you finding it difficult to adjust to your place in the art world after having been in the entertainment industry for so long?
Because my focus has been on acting and I’m so much in the early stages of something, I’m sure it will take, as it did in acting, time to sort of find what my creative voice is in it, and what it is that I want to express.
It’s also this time that’s kind of like music and iTunes -- the Internet is changing how you can market yourself in the art world so you’re not dependent on a gallery. I still want to do exhibitions, but you can control this in a way where you can keep expressing yourself. When you’re at the Hamburg Gallery, they can pick or not pick a painting – it’s a different world.
Coming from television that’s one of the things I am so drawn to. I have complete creative control over something. I have control over a character the way I build her and how I show her and what I want to express, but ultimately it’s a collaboration and it changes in the writing and editing and all those things. I love that part of my job. But I really love painting for the privacy I get from it, and also being able to control everything about it.
I was reading your statement of purpose on your website, and it says that your paintings can become an ‘unexpected self-portrait.’ As they are abstract paintings that statement isn’t literal. Do you mean that any work you create is a reflection of what is happening in your life and ultimately of you?
That’s an interesting way to put it. I think I came to that with a couple of the paintings because I think there was a lot of change and growth, things that I was coming towards while I was painting in Tribeca.
I see it in She Burns My Eyes. I see it in Hard to get to the Center of Things, in I Walk Alone. That painting is very spiritual. Close up there’s a journey with that whole painting. There’s no photo-authenticity in most of my paintings because I am not interested in that, I am interested in hidden imagery, hidden messages, abstract expressionism.
Tell me a little bit about how you get to that expression in your work.
Some of it is a combination of colors -- and I worked a lot with linseed oil this summer in different ways, and glazes and things like that. She Burns My Eyes comes from a model - she's not me. When I later stood back from the painting and looked at it -- there were different processes of glazes to get that look -- there were places where her body sort of melted back into the canvas.
And her one hand around her breast – in that I thought that there was so much self-love. There was someone just kind of rising up… I felt like there was a birth almost in that painting, and a strength in that woman. It’s nothing I can say literally. It’s just what’s going on inside me, and it gets manifested visually.
But it usually always starts with models and some of it comes from photography, some from pictures I have taken myself – my own photography. I am surrounded by great photographers, my ex-co-star (Jennifer Beals) included. I am more comfortable painting, but I photographed a lot of things this summer, and maybe I’ll explore more mixed medium type of pieces that incorporate photography. Most of my photography is to get the image first of the subject. So, I think they are abstract self-portraits.
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