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Hollie Chastain

Posted by Kate Singleton on

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I was raised in a small town just north of Chattanooga and I now live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Hollie's show on BSDA

How did you get your start as an artist? Have you been collecting and collaging since you were little?

Since I was very little I have been drawing, painting and messing around with anything that allowed me to create. I studied art through high school and a lot in college. I started my adult working career in graphic design but after several years of that I was ready for a change and went back to analog work. Collage is a relatively new process to me but it stems from my love of collecting. I have always loved items that tell a story whether it be doodles in a book, found notes or unusual objects. Collage allows me to share those stories and also make them a part of the actual piece.

What draws you to create your art? 

I love a great story. Folk tales and fables and superstition and lore are completely inspiring to me and creating a narrative with a piece is my mission. I like to keep my narratives a little open and fuzzy so the viewer has plenty of room to project their own experiences and make a true connection with an image.

One Room (in-progress)

In this series there are recurring themes of skulls and mystical swirls of multicolored triangles. What do these themes represent?

When we moved into our new house a little over a year ago it hadn't been touched by paint or any sort of remodeling since it was built in the early 50s. The previous owner had lived here on and off since she was a little girl and only really used a few of the rooms. The others were closed up or used as storage. It was like stepping back in time and was completely overwhelming. In the early days it was hard to imagine that this place would ever feel like our home. There were unwanted articles left behind in closets and the basement. The first month or so was almost creepy. There was so much of the previous residents around that it was like we were sharing the space with them. They were an overpowering presence but as we paint and pull carpet and bring in the colors of our family and our life we are wittling down that heaviness. The triangles of color represent this to me - a new energy. In an older house that history will always be there but eventually you are able to tame it back and truly make the space your own. The skeletons of an older presence will always knock around but it is easier to embrace the old bones of your house when you are warm and comfortable and claim the space.

The Past And Us

You moved house this past year. How has that event influenced your work?

In our previous home I didn't have a dedicated work space. I worked tucked away in unused corners, always filling our bedroom with collected books and paper. In that situation you can't help but feel like you are imposing on family members with panels left out on the kitchen table drying and constant paper scraps everywhere. I now have a home studio and feel organized and like I can spread out and make a mess if I need to. I have room to work bigger and more and I adore it.

You are a busy artist + mom whose work is popping up in lots of cool places. What exciting things do you have on the horizon?

I have a few solo shows coming up in 2013 so I'll be busy! One of the spaces I will be filling is the largest I've ever worked with so I am going to be scaling up my work. The materials I work with currently cater to smaller formats so there will be a lot of experimenting and new techniques. 

Hollie's website.

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