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Meet Gwen Hollingsworth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gwen Hollingsworth.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gwen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started drawing from a young age; I liked using image-making as a way to document and understand the world around me. From the moment I was able to paint, I always wanted to be an artist but was unsure of how to pursue it. It wasn’t until I got into the art program at UCLA when I started to see my passion as a possible career choice. In college, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to focus on my craft, take classes in subjects that inspire my work, and be surrounded by extremely talented and creative individuals who help inform my practice in ways I never would’ve predicted.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course not. It’s been hard seeing a clear path beyond college because the nature of art itself is so unreliable. I still don’t see a clear path. In addition, I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal challenges that prevented me from making art for several months. I am constantly thinking about paintings I want to make and being unable to for so long affected me in a really negative way, especially because art has always been something to turn to when I needed it.

Through this time off though I came to the realization that art is a part of my life, but is not my life. I think this balance and distinction is difficult for artists to understand because we dedicate so much of our energy into our craft. It wasn’t until I gave myself space that I was able to see that art is something I am never going to lose, and shouldn’t be afraid of losing. There are different parts of me that need to be taken care of, and learning this distinction allowed me to return to painting in a much more regenerative way.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
I specialize in drawing and painting, focusing mostly on landscapes, specifically nocturne scenes. I also recently fell in love with printmaking and have been using this medium as a way to expand my painting practice. My work focuses on the psychology of space and its relation to temporal and experiential phenomena. Familiar environments become so distant from our established understanding of them when experienced under different conditions – ie. the transition from day to night through the passing of time.

That’s why I like making nocturne scenes so much because under such conditions we are further forced to create our own understanding of reality and determine for ourselves our place in the spaces we are occupying. I rarely use figures in my work because I like the focus to be on the space and the emotional weight of said space as experienced by the viewer, rather than through the lens of a character I created.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The art department at UCLA doesn’t have enough space for all students to have private studios during their time in school, which is ironic considering the amount of space allotted for administrative offices and staff members.

I was lucky enough to have received a studio for my senior year to pursue my painting practice in a more private and individualized way, a privilege that I’ve been working for since before my freshman year and one I know that not everyone has access to. I am hoping that in the near future UCLA will utilize its resources to give its students the space they need to hone in on their practice.

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