Painter Riley Holloway's Home Workspace In Expo Park Is An Organized Mess.
When you first walk into artist Riley Holloway and boutique owner Kelsey McLain's shared Exposition Park loft, your eyes are drawn in every direction.
Theirs is a crafty and creative space: Move beyond the kitchen that greets your entrance, skirt on past the chic living room in the open floor plan layout, and, right by the large windows that line the far wall, you'll see it; the large canvases stacked against walls and propped upon easels, basking in rays of natural light and illuminating the true pigments of the paints, make it clear that this is Holloway’s work space.
It's a constantly changing space, too. Holloway, one of the brighter young talents in the Dallas art world, creates large pieces that each have different demands. And to accommodate his ever-changing direction, he rotates easels into this corner and out of that one, perpetually creating new work sections wherever he can.
It's an organized mess — from the boxes that hold tubes of paint and random CDs to the bins filled with markers and pens, some with caps and some without. Those materials just help it smell like a vibrant workplace — albeit one you won't be able to leave without a little bit of paint speckling upon your clothes. But the inspiration those paint flecks provide are worth it, for sure.
This past weekend, we caught up with Holloway to see if he still gets the same vibe that we do from his home studio.
How would you describe your type of art?
I consider myself to be a traditional oil painter focusing on portrait painting and, just recently, still life painting. What's interesting is that, for the longest time, I've considered still life painting to be a bit boring — until I started riding my bike around Exposition Park and Deep Ellum. My work also has somewhat of a minimalist approach. I've been painting people and objects against a white background, not wanting to distract from what I find interesting about the person or object I'm painting.
How important is your work environment for you?
My work environment is extremely important to me. I didn't fully realize that until I was given space to paint during my residency at the Fairmont. Things like having enough wall space to work on multiple paintings at one time has been perfect. I also like for my work environment to be surrounded by art. I think it helps me focus.
What is your favorite thing about your studio?
One of my favorite things about the space is the concrete floors. I'm no longer freaking out about spills. And I love my windows. They're huge and provide a lot of natural lighting. Just being in Expo Park has been great, too.
What would your dream studio include?
My dream studio would have even more space for more ambitious projects.
What is your creative process like?
I paint during the day. I'll usually work from 12 p.m. to about 8 p.m. I have to have music — either jazz or hip-hop. Sometimes, it feels like I spend more time looking at the canvas than painting — because the act of painting is really just a series of decisions. So I like to take my time to make sure that the decisions I'm making are accurate. Oh, and I like wearing hats when I paint! It's sort of a weird thing, because now I won't paint without one. And I don't know why exactly.
What keeps you inspired? Beyond the hats, I mean.
Possibilities keep me inspired. Finding out what I'm capable of. Making sure that my next body of work is always better than my last body of work. I have to push myself in that way, or I might get bored.
Do you plan on adding anything else to this space?
One thing is that I plan on opening it up to people. I like for people to view the work in the environment the work was created in. It really provides more of a comfortable setting, and would be a great way to get useful critiques before I send the body of work out to whatever opportunity I was creating the work for. What's great about this space is it can really be transformed from a private studio to a bit more of a gallery setting by simply opening up the blinds all the way and throwing a “Holloway Fine Art” decal in the window.
What’s else do you have in the works?
I don't know what's new for me! Right now, I'm looking to get into juried exhibitions and finding the right gallery for my work.
See more of Riley Holloway's work here.