Richard Holland – Santa Monica, CA
I am a Englishman and a Citizen living in America for nearly 25 years and my work is rooted here.
I am a film production designer and an artist. When the film industry started to leave Los Angeles for better tax benefits elsewhere, I started to tell personal stories through my fine artwork. Today, I am finally able to rededicate my life to working as the fine artist I set out to be in my career. I arrived in America from London in 1993 when I came to work on 20th Century Fox The Last of the Mohicans film as Supervising Art Director and I never went home.
My work as a production designer on Films totally influences my approach to my artwork. I build stories from the outside in; personal stories, that reflect a universal script. The script is followed by several “sets or paintings” that tell the story. Each painting explores a set theme , until I feel I’ve expressed the story as fully as I can.
A key part of my Portraits are the frames that becomes a visual and sometimes verbal extension of the storytelling. THE portraits are traditionally rendered,fused together with a overall sense of uniqueness.
The work, highly layered with dimension and storytelling features, reflects my observations about American Politics, American Values, the economic landscape and living the American Dream in California and America. The paintings require intense research for their historical perspective on my American state of mind. The paintings are often set in times gone by or in iconic places since forgotten. This is in keeping with my approach to designing films. A big part of the pre-production film process is laden with research to embrace the world a film inhabits. I draw artistic inspiration from the work of political satirists throughout the ages and artists like Mark Ryden, for his beautiful worlds and frames, and Michael Charles Ray for his rustic technique.
Along with my portraits my artworks use perspective, computer compositing and skill-based production design techniques like draftsmanship, drawing, and painting learned in the European tradition of apprenticeship training when I started in the film industry. The work begins with freehand drawing that utilizes several techniques. The cut outs in the work derive from the use of perspective I used in films like Princess Bride Indiana Jones, Labyrinth and Roger Rabbit. The colors used in the artworks are purposefully muted to telegraph America’s iconic images and place rooted in the past. Influences from past entertainment venues, such as the Circus and Fairgrounds, are present along with my love for Americana. The layering effects in each work tell the deeper story beyond the iconic recognition. The curtain opens and the stage is set.
As a film production designer I see the big picture story or theme of a project and then break it down into its parts—in film it is sets with walls; in my art it is paintings within frames. They say every good film starts with a good script. In my artwork, my primary source material is the subject matter . As a European,I am steeped in history, and I bring that to my work to play out today in a very American way.