Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Holly Wiggin - Painter

Holly Wiggin

Name:  Holly A.D. Wiggin
City/State: Minneapolis, MN profile:

Holly A.D. Wiggin earned her BA in Studio Art at Hope College with a painting concentration.  Having lived all over the U.S. and abroad, Wiggin now lives and works in the Twin Cities.  She has exhibited her work in Michigan and in Minneapolis. As she continues to develop her art practice, she also works at the Walker Art Center and volunteers at the Soap Factory.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
Lately I have been working on abstract paintings that are colorful and fantastical with an element of the sublime, or of this feeling of the calm before the storm, or being on the brink of something powerful and phenomenal.  I really enjoy the challenge of painting somewhat ambiguous spaces and forms that can be read in a number of ways.  These are informed by the characteristics of fabric, landscapes, and sometimes maybe flesh or hair.  I was trained in representational painting and figure drawing, and eventually realized a year or two ago that all my work until that point had a figure in it, and my later work was becoming less and less about the figure and more about everything else.  The figures had become a sort of crutch, so I decided to get out of my comfort zone and abandon them for awhile.  Things went abstract pretty quickly, and working this way is still quite new to me.  The interesting thing to me is now seeing how my newer work is still relevant to or informed by the human figure, and how we as viewers interact with the work and contribute to that narrative.

How did you decide to become an artist?
My mom is an artist/craftsman with an MFA in Ceramics (, so I’ve grown up watching her work from home, grow, flourish, make a name for herself, and help support our family in a big way.  She always encouraged me and my sister in art, sometimes giving us little art lessons, and I ended up taking art class in school every year.  I think I started out wanting to make art for the wrong reasons—I majored in it in college because I just couldn’t imagine not continuing with art, mostly because it was one thing I felt I had some talent and skill in, and it felt good to be good at something not everyone is.  Then I left college, got a “real” job at a desk for three years, but had no creative outlet and I really missed having that identification as an artist.  When I got married, my husband encouraged me to try to pursue art again, which is what I’ve been doing the past three years.  To be honest, it has been a very difficult struggle to keep at it when affirmation isn’t as easy to come by in the real world as it was for me growing up, and when I’ve had to develop a more mature reason than that for making art. However, the process of coming up with puzzles for myself to solve, imaginary things to engineer, then successfully executing them, is incredibly satisfying. So I keep on trying to become an artist.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I love Chuck Close’s quote: “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.”  This is advice I’m constantly working to remember—just making something when you don’t feel it is more than half the battle!  One thing I have discovered is that for me the value of making art is not in demonstrating talent or communicating some agenda, but instead it’s really in learning and growing through the process of making it.  As I create something I learn all kinds of things, from techniques, to what “works,” to what is important to me about the subject and what significance there is in that particular painting.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
To be honest, I have not figured out these aspects yet.  I am still trying to create a discipline of regularly making art, and am only just now starting to make pieces I feel could be worth hanging on someone else’s wall. (And the time draws near to market and sell, because my own walls are becoming pretty congested with this stuff!)  I think my next step will be to look at showing/selling smaller pieces in local commercial retail spaces like restaurants and coffee shops, as well as online (the likes of and take it from there.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Elisa Berry Fonseca (

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I love to bring all my visitors to the Soap Factory ( to check out more experimental and site-specific artwork by emerging artists, followed by the Walker Art Center ( and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (  I also cherish the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (—seeing more traditional art and especially the Impressionist paintings is always really inspiring to me and brings me back to the joy of painting when I need that.

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
The Walker site has become an excellent source of art news (  I also really enjoy exploring, and if I just need some eye-candy from art to product design to architecture, I like to check out Design Milk (

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
I’m excited to be showing a piece at Altered Esthetics in the upcoming exhibit “Straight Trippin’.”  The show opens February 28 and will be on-view through March 28, 2013.  The theme of the exhibit is questioning reality with distorted perspectives and it should feature a really interesting variety of work.  (

Holly Wiggin
Altered Esthetics Featured Artist

Image List:
1. “EmBedded,” acrylic on canvas & fiberfill, 8" x 8" x 2.5" (2010)
2. “I make all things New," paper, cellophane, vinyl, cardboard, lights, 12’ x 9’ x 4’ (November 2010)
3. "Is this a Place for me to rest," acrylic on canvas, 16"x20" (2012)
4. “Bunched,”oil on canvas, 12"x12" (2011)
5. “Over All,” oil on canvas, 30" x 40" (2012)
6. “Aerial,” oil on canvas board, 11 x 14” (2012)
7. Image of artist – Holly Wiggin

1 comment:

Farida Hughes said...

Holly is a talented and inspired artist. Looking forward to seeing the show!