Today we’d like to introduce you to Holly Socrates.
Holly, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
After showing and selling my artwork in local galleries and venues for nearly a decade, I began to look for my own gallery space to showcase my work. I stumbled upon small 200 square foot storefront in El Segundo on my way to get my hair done. I immediately called the number on the sign and then politely stalked the property manager until the lease was mine. 🙂 I wasn’t concerned about square footage, I figured I needed wall space, not square footage. I began preparing the former lawyer’s office into an art gallery. Many days my new neighbors would find me wearing dish gloves, scraping tint off the windows or rolling white paint on the walls. As I was warmly welcomed by these neighbors, I began to realize everyone I had met owned a really cool, creative business. I had a rough idea to create an art walk for El Segundo, a chance for small business owners and artists to show off their accomplishments with residents and surrounding neighborhoods. I pitched the idea to a few business owners in town, and they were thrilled! The concept was to offer studio tours of the amazing creative warehouses and businesses in town to the public. In addition, each venue hosted a local artist to show and sell their work without any fees or commissions.
100% of art sales went to the artist. In the summer of 2015, the El Segundo Art Walk came to fruition. With over 30 venues and 50 artists, ESAW quickly became the most highly attended event in the city. After creating, curating and running the art walk for two years, in 2017, I handed over the reigns to focus on my, at the time, struggling business. Art sales are unpredictable, and although I had experienced lots of press, accolades and even a commendation from the mayor for the art walk, my sales were in the worst slump ever. Art is problem-solving, and for the survival of my business, I had to think of a solution. I expanded my gallery to not just artwork, but home accessories, gifts, and maker goods, many from local artisans. This allowed me to continue to show my artwork, but now in a context of an interior. It also attracted more visitors, and therefore, more sales. This past spring, the Holly Socrates Gallery and Boutique began offering maker workshops and art classes, taught by the artists themselves. Some of the workshops offered include Macrame, Shibori, Candle Making, even Poetry. In addition to workshops, I personally offer interior design services, art consulting and curating. I’m happy to say, my artwork sales recovered from its slump as well. Last summer, I created three large-scale commissioned paintings for the MGM Casino in Macau, China. Just goes to show, you never know when the next opportunity will present itself.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am an objective abstract painter. I use many mediums including oils, acrylics, and ink but am best known for my charcoal and coffee paintings. My work is calm and serene.
I like to play with visual information, scaling back on lines and strokes, pushing how much can I take away and still communicate the image to the viewer.
I desire to create pieces that evoke an emotion in the viewer. I believe art does not have to be offensive or crude to accomplish that but instead create a positive or peaceful response.
How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
I would like my artwork to bring joy to the viewer, that is the ultimate goal of creating. I own pieces of art by other artists, and every time I look at them, it makes me happy. I would love that to be the reaction for my buyers as well. Pure love.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My artwork can be found online at hollysocratesart.com or at my brick and mortar location, the Holly Socrates Gallery and Boutique located at 150 Main Street, El Segundo 90245.
Workshops and classes can be found online at hollysocrates.com
- Address: 150 Main Street
El Segundo, CA 90245
- Website: hollysocrates.com (workshops) and hollysocratesart.com (art inquires)
- Phone: 424-278-3271
- Email: email through website
- Instagram: @hollysocrates (store and workshops) @holly_socrates_art (artwork)
- Facebook: @hollysocratesart
Photo credit: Jessie Lee Cederblom