Thursday, June 25, 2015


Sam Holt in his studio

Describe your work in 100 words or less:

My works are all-personal reflections of time and place and my ideals. They are energetic and lively, and present a snapshot of my present state or a commentary on my life at the time. By being honest and raw in my painting or sculpture I’m looking to translate that to the viewer so they can open up their own memories. I want them to feel something and embody their own experience in the work.

Why Art?

It just happened. I’ve always been compelled to be creative and I have found fine arts to be the most rewarding way of communicating this. It’s without rules and it’s liberating to just express you. It’s never been a calculated choice, but rather something that’s always been there.

Sam Holt_Present Future installation shots_Photographs by Zan Wimberley.

How has your artistic practice changed over time?

Generally I’m a bit restless, which I think is great for my art. I can’t do the same thing over and over – I need to explore new ideas and concepts. There is no point in doing anything if you know you can do it; there is a lot of satisfaction in the unknown.

Which artistic movements or artists do you most identify with?

All art is inspiring in different ways but I definitely feel a strong affiliation with the abstract expressionists. There was just so much freedom in their work and I vividly remember seeing an exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia as a teenager called ‘The Big Americans’. It had all the big artists from the time and I’ve still got the exhibition book in my studio. Frankenthaler, Rauschenberg, Hockney, Rothko and Johns – it was absolutely mind-blowing at the time. I remember being absolutely blown away and in awe of the whole experience. There is so much depth in abstract expressionist art. It seems so pure and not over-analysed to the point where it doesn’t really have a soul. I think art needs personality; it needs to speak to you.

Sam Holt_Present Future installation shots_Photographs by Zan Wimberley.

How do you work? Can you tell us about your process?

I juggle. My mind is constantly on a thousand things at once and deadlines always help to bring things in order, but I do love the rush of them. I fluctuate to what interests me at the time, be it doing some sculpture or painting in the studio or exploring a new concept. In terms of my art-making practice, I’m usually trying to capture a fleeting memory or feeling, so it’s important the work is fresh and I feel this comes out when it’s done fast and spontaneously. I try not to labour over a work because it tends to get stale and I never really have a game plan on exactly how it’s going to look.

What themes and ideas do you pursue?

My work is personal, so in that sense, I’m exploring memory, thoughts, feelings and the present. I want to capture ideals and fleeting thoughts and energies; the works themselves need to have a personality, to breathe, which allows them to tell us a story and share experience with the viewer.

What is your dream project?

It’s an interesting question, one I have no answer for, which I think is great, though I recently visited the Rothko Chapel in Houston on my last trip to the States and it blew me away. It was just a really beautifully articulated idea that came together through collaboration with a great artist, architects and just as importantly, an art patron. The space transcends both architecture and art and it’s an amazing experience that I connected with in an otherworldly manner. So ambitiously, I would like to make a long-lasting and profound experience – one that is constantly interacted with, and kept alive because it has meaning to people.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

Somewhere unexpected.

If your work was a…

Song: it would be one that immediately takes you back to that day when… 
Smell: it would be one you would be reminiscing about all day 
Meal: it would be oysters, full of body and depth but with an overwhelming sense of the sublime of life

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