Holly Graham has always been an artist. From her early beginnings in crayons and colored pencils to the popular abstract paintings that populate her thriving art career today, Holly’s work utilizes texture and color to tell a story and revive a sense of memory.
Born and raised in Charlotte, Holly Graham moved away after high school, before ultimately returning six years ago. Holly studied Studio Art at Wake Forest University, and afterward, she worked at the National Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “I always knew that I wanted to be a part of the art world, whether working in museums or making art. It wasn’t until I started a family that I decided to paint again,” Holly described.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a part of the art world, whether working in museums or making art.”
When trying to work creatively while her young children were napping or at preschool, Holly Graham began to focus on creating again, eventually evolving into her full time job. “I have tried to trust my instincts and only take on projects that I believe in, which becomes essential for anyone who is juggling work and a family,” Graham said.
Her popular abstract paintings are inspired by music, emotion, memories and color relationships. Holly Graham crafts a vision for her work from everyday observations, such as the scenery of her morning jogs and the color palettes from the fashion runway. Additionally, she attributes much of her inspiration to some of her favorite artists: Joan Mitchell, Picasso, Matisse, and Willem De Kooning.
Known also for her truck and SUV-focused prints, Holly Graham began experimenting with this subject matter when creating art for her son’s room. “The unique lines, the bright vintage color palette, and the free spirit and optimism that they convey are appealing to kids and adults alike,” Graham explains. “I also think people place a lot of personal value in their cars because of the memories they hold.”
Holly has also been exploring collage as of late—a process in which she paints paper, tears them, and then intuitively places them within compositions. Collage work is an organic process for Graham, and she uses this added level of texture to explore the relationship between music and visual art.
Holly Graham also relishes the collaboration behind commission work. “It can sometimes be like solving a puzzle because a client’s words can mean one thing to them and another to me, but once I get it right, it’s really rewarding.”
Currently, Holly Graham’s collages are featured at Shain Gallery during their Paper Show, and her truck and SUV series can be found at SOCO shop. Holly is also represented by Bee Street Studio in Dallas, in addition to creating work for Exposed: Art in the Elements, a company specializing in weatherproof art to be hung outdoors. Undoubtedly, Holly Graham’s work adds something unique to the vibrant visual arts culture of the Charlotte area; a creative journey of texture and color to create one-of-a-kind content.