|Christopher John Hollins - England|
Writer and Painter
I have always had a passion for art. At school it was the only subject I was good at. Drawing and painting seemed to me to be a natural thing to do. Everything else was cleaver and beyond me but art was primal. They tried to teach me to see art intellectually as a 'superior' subject that had to be learned but I felt art as deeper than that. Art was something I sensed within myself like all those other feelings of love, hate, fear and compassion that we all possess but never know how to truly portray.
In the 1960's my school was churning out young people as factory fodder for a thriving British car industry. As a result my talent went unrecognised and at 15 years of age I was pushed into work on an industrial production line. As you can guess it was hardly the best start for someone who loved art. It was enough to turn anyone to drink but I kept myself going through this dreadful period of my life by painting landscapes, animals and portraits with as much detail and realism as I could. As time went on that 'feeling' I sensed and called art grew stronger and stronger and my pictures became more aggressive and abstract. Now I paint strange shapes that I call 'Pelt Art'. They are designed to make art you will find difficult to recognise so that you will be unable to apply intelligent ideas towards what you see. I hope this will help you sense the older animal awareness for shapes and colour that I beleive we all still possess in the depth of our mind.
As I have aged I have learned to understand what this feeling really means to me. I now see it as something that is animal in my soul and I now believe this is what has always driven artists to create art objects. Artists sense this animal 'feeling' for sight, shape, sound and movement more than most people but we cannot give it any form of recognition. I think artists create paintings, sculpture, music and dance to turn this 'feeling' into something they can recognise and this is why art objects show us a deeper sense of the sights, shapes, sounds and movements we experience in day to day life.
To view a selection of Christopher's work click here
A few questions I asked Christopher....
What process do you tend to follow when creating a new piece of art?
This may sound strange but I try not to think. When I start a work I sketch in a blind way and I find that, to begin with, what I draw always looks like something I know how to recognise. I redraw this and push it away from recognition towards something that is full of uncertainty. My reasoning is that if you can easily recognise an image you won't feel any sense of disruption to your powers of perception and it is this sensation I want you to experience. If you are unsure of what you are looking at you will begin to sense it in deeper primal way and that is what I want people to do in front of my work.
What is your favourite creative tool?
What professional and personal obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today?
The biggest obstacle was a lack of self-belief. I think it was due to a bad start in life. I felt that schooling was an obstacle rather than an asset. It turned me into a worker on an industrial production line and it took me years to build up the self-esteem to believe in my ability to be an artist.
What creative ideas and plans are in the pipeline for the next 12 months?
It takes me longer to make the works than to draw them so I plan to build as many as I can. At this time no gallery will endorse what I am doing. These works are not traditional rectangular pictures but large shaped objects. That seems to put people off.
If you could make one rule for the world, what would it be?
I wish people would learn to tolerate differences and religious beliefs a little more.
Who is your favourite Artist, and why?
More than one. Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse. They all understood art as a form of exploration into a depth of perception and they kept social comments and other 'world' concerns out of what their work. They represented the idea of a pure artists struggling with an inner vision. To me we all inherit a great depth of perception but few of us go deep within ourselves to get a look at it. Most of us stay on the surface in the comfort of the images we know how to recognise.