Artist Interview Pixelsurgeon: Stephen Holding


Stephen Holding currently lives in NYC and divides his time between his full time design job and painting. He is interested in blurring the lines between street art, fine art and design. His influences are “light, motion, energy, mass, and the infinite interactions between them.”

Stephen believes that “The best way to predict the future is to create it!”

PIXELSURGEON: Tell us about your favourite pieces as your portfolio is very diverse?

S: My favorite pieces are probably Elevated (Acrylic on Canvas, 9/2001) and Biorhythm (Mixed Media on Plywood, 4/2004). Elevated was my first work in what I see as an ongoing process that has been unfolding over the Past three years. It was very intuitive and that method of approach still interests me very much. It gives me a framework which I can base more complex ideas on, building a piece from the inside out. I like Biorhythm because it is my most recent (complete) painting and my first successful attempt at incorporating intuitive marks as well as figurative and conceptual information.

PIXELSURGEON: What/where did you study or are you purely self-taught?

S: I studied Art through high school and was extremely lucky to have one of the best teachers that you ask for – John MacPhee. He gave me the confidence to really pursue what I love doing. This was pretty contrary that Art was just a hobby; something to do on your spare time but nothing that you could really make a solid living at. I really needed someone who has been through it to tell me that it is possible. After high school I received a half-tuition scholarship to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where I studied graphic design and illustration. I then transferred to Massachusetts College of Art in Boston when I realized that illustration wasn’t for me. I then began studying things in a broader scope, using my knowledge of graphic design and illustration and studying painting, printmaking, photography, and philosophy. I also used this time to travel around the U.S, Japan and China. My education has proven to be a critical element in my work from the very beginning, and I definitely plan to attend graduate school sometime in the future, although I haven’t really decided for what… yet.

PIXELSURGEON: You appear to have a very scientific method of approach, but the passionate and deft hands of an artist. Which subject do you prefer better? (I know you’ve mentioned Sci-fi as an influence)

Thank you very much! Combining science and raw feeling or emotion is at the core of what I am currently working through. Two of my favorite artists are Jean Michel Basquiat and Frank Lloyd Wright. I always thought that if you could somehow combine their collective abilities into one perfect synthesis of physical precision and raw, expressive colors and intuitive markmaking.

PIXELSURGEON: Do you have a particular like for order and structure? There is a trend of geometric drawings with depth and perspectives.

S:They are combinations of different perspectives that I see every day. They are constantly recombining and shifting, and there are certain reoccurring elements in the pieces as a result. I like the relationship between the rigid structure of architecture and the unpredictability of the energy that surrounds it.

PIXELSURGEON: Is there a particular style/school of thought/artist that you admire and try to emulate?

S: Definitely Basquiat and Wright as I mentioned before, Boccioni, Picasso, Syd Mead, Lissitzky, Futura 2000, Julie Mehretu to name a few…

PIXELSURGEON: What are your views on New media? Do you think the purpose of art is altered if exhibited via this relatively new medium?

S: I feel that New Media has a lot of interesting possibilities, for instance Attik explores this area extremely well. I think that it is already testing people’s barriers between art and design, but I don’t think that people’s experience of going to the museum will diminish as New Media develops… But you never know.

PIXELSURGEON: How do you measure an artist’s success? Self satisfaction/Audience reaction (I know any at all is invaluable) or the value that is tagged on your piece in monetary terms?

S: I think the measure of an artist’s success is achieving a state of continual growth and creation and having the endurance to maintain it for life. Feedback from people is critical as well; otherwise your work just hovers in a vacuum and is having no effect on its surroundings. If you art does not change someone’s life, no matter how subtly, then I feel that it is missing the point…

Interview for Pixelsurgeon here.

Stephen Holding’s site.

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