There are not many overnight success stories in the art world. It is a vocation that is perhaps best suited to constancy and consistency. “It seems like a slow and steady life to me,” says Holly Coulis, a Canadian artist who has called Brooklyn, New York, home since 1999. “That may be the way it is for many artists: spending time in the studio, making your work, meeting other artists over the years, finding people along the way who are interested in what you are doing.” There is recognition, though. Holly has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles and Detroit, as well as Canada and Switzerland. She also teaches and is part of non-profit gallery 106 Green.
Which five words best describe you? That's a difficult question. It really depends on how I am feeling at any given moment. Maybe stubborn, curious, intuitive, insightful, and I'll go with funny. I laugh at my own jokes all the time.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Well, I suppose it begins and ends with dedication to my studio practice. It's been years of showing up. I just keep showing up. And finding new ways to be involved with painting and with art in general. It seems like a constant conversation with myself about how to keep my work interesting to me. Spending as much time as possible looking at other people's paintings helps a lot.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Life is short and also long. It's important to try to stay captivated by the world.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Honestly, it was when I taught my first beginners’ painting class. It was very nerve-racking and I felt that I had nothing to offer these young artists. By the end of the semester, they had all grown as painters and artists. Also, being a part of 106 Green, a non-profit gallery started by Mitchell Wright and Ridley Howard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We've shown a lot of artists' work and asked artists to curate shows there. It always feels like a real place for art and artists.
What’s been your best decision? To move to New York. To marry my husband.
Who inspires you? People who are dedicated to their vision and keep making/writing/doing what they love. And people who manage to keep the life in their eyes.
What are you passionate about? Music, painting, film, stories, humour, food.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jacques Pépin. He seems hilarious and sweet, and I've seen him make a beautiful omelette on TV. There are other people who I really admire or am inspired by, but Jacques Pépin is someone I would actually like to sit down with. Preferably in a kitchen. Over some food.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd like to write something good. And learn to play the piano.
What are you reading? I'm in the middle of Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.
images courtesy of holly coulis