Skye Holland is a London-based contemporary artist using mixed-media to create drawings, paintings, panel-works and prints. Her artwork is a commentary on our ever-shifting interaction with the natural and wild and the equilibrium on which we all co-exist and depend.
What inspires you to create art?
I often find inspiration in “found” images. I take photographs on my phone as I travel about, a lot of my photos are from memorable trips to wild places.
My work often starts as a re-imagined space that she populates and collages with elements that speak to each other, moving to flow when a layering of mark-making and paint starts to build intuitively.
My inspiration is also found in fashion, as my mother was a fashion designer and pattern cutter. I am also inspired by architecture and design which coupled with my training as a fine art printmaker gives my work a distinctly graphic edge.
I’m very much influenced by traditional design, prints and painting techniques from the far east and southern Africa, where I spent ten years. I often work energetically with ink painting, allowing flor and natural, random happenings in my mark-making to build structure and form in transparent layerings.
What has been your favourite or most memorable art sale?
My most memorable sale probably has to be a 5’x4’ painting of a Black Rhino; it was the last West African Black Rhino that became officially extinct in 2015.
I showed it at the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea that year and it caused quite a stir with a small crowd gathered at my stand and a few people expressing immediate interest in purchasing the piece. This was the first time I’d sold a painting for nearly £4000 and it gave me such a boost of excitement and confidence. I knew I had connected with my purpose and people read the energy of my work.
How would you advise artists who are just starting out?
I would advise new artists to not become complacent or try to cut corners.
It’s important to develop a growth mindset and upskill anytime you confront an area of your art business that you don’t understand, find hard or put off doing or learning about because it’s tough for you. Once you’ve left art school (and especially if you’re self taught), be self reflective about your processes and art practice, see if you can connect with a community which give you honest feedback. It’s easy to make artwork and post online – but unfortunately, we are judged by what we put out there. If you are in a place of development, rather than only post when you’re really satisfied it is worthy of sharing. I don’t mean don’t show a sketchbook or work in progress, but if you’re actually at the beginning of your learning journey, give yourself space and freedom to do it. That time is invaluable for an artists’ development and you need to discover your authentic language.
‘It’s important to develop a growth mindset and upskill anytime you confront an area of your art business that you don’t understand’
How has your career changed over the last year?
My artist career has stepped up in the past 6-12 months…. I guess I’ve stopped playing small (this is about mindset and inner belief). This comes from really hard work, consistent goal setting, and critical appraisal of where I am. I’ve done a lot of business and self-development training sessions. I feel I have got to a place where I understand my own mountain of value and now it’s about reaching my audience, I already have done the work of finding out who they are. This has shown up in sales, in recognition, and standing beside my pricing. Still so far to go!
What do you find the most rewarding part of being an artist?
The most rewarding part of being an artist for me is that I know deep in my soul this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Hard yes, a long time to develop yes, but I have no regrets. I’m entering my third act, knowing that I will probably die with a brush in my hand and that I’ll never have to face a day when I don’t know what my purpose is or whether I could have made it as a professional artist. Disregarding personal wealth, this is a huge success to me on its own!