The March/April issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine features a profile of mixed-media artist Hollie Chastain. Hollie’s artwork draws viewers in, and she is inspired by materials with a history. Her paintings are often reminiscent of the wonder-filled days of childhood. Stories emerge as vintage black-and-white images are given new life with bursts of color and pattern.
Here’s more of our Q & A.
Cloth Paper Scissors: You worked as a graphic designer; is that still your main career? If so, do you consider it your “day job,” or just another expression of you as an artist?
Hollie: I still work here and there as a graphic designer. I can get way too wrapped up in my head in the studio. I think my graphic design work helps me stay loose and allows me to see beyond what I’m immediately working on. It acts as creative exercise.
Cloth Paper Scissors: In an earlier interview you said, “I don’t touch anything until the music is on.” Is that still the case, and what does music bring to your creative process?
Hollie: Absolutely. Music is one of my constants in life and my best studio mate. It makes me feel inspired and focused. It quiets my brain and charges my mind. I can look at pieces from years ago and remember the album or artist that I was listening to when I made it.
Cloth Paper Scissors: Is your approach to collage different when you’re doing a commissioned piece? Do you work collaboratively, or do clients let you have complete creative control?
Hollie: It really depends on the client. I feel like I have a distinct look to my work, so if someone has chosen me to complete a commission for them, even if they have a good idea of what they want the feel of the work to be, they have chosen me because they trust my aesthetic. Typically, I take the assignment and go from there, but occasionally there is some back and forth with the client, and changes here and there. I appreciate that collaborative process after working in design for a number of years.
Cloth Paper Scissors: Do you find it difficult to part with your original work?
Hollie: Typically, no. I do like to keep track of where certain pieces go. That’s important and interesting to me. It’s fun when a favorite piece gets a new home on another continent, and the new owner sends me a picture of it hung in their home. That’s wonderful. To me, that feeling is better than keeping the work with me.
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