“I Like it Raw” – An Interview with Artist + Actress Laurel Holloman

Laurel Holloman has been on our radar since 1995, when she played the endearing Randy Dean in “The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love.” She would casually pop up in indie films with great performances and ultimately blew us all away with her portrayal of Tina Kennard, on “The L Word.”

Now, although it’s not a new venture for the actress, Laurel Holloman is producing stunning abstract art. She was kind enough to let CherryGRRL pick her brain about her art and her upcoming appearance at Club Skirts The Dinah 2011. Holloman opens up about the never-ending influence of art in her life, her painting process, and how she feels about her L Word fans.

CherryGRRL (CG): When did you first start your painting career?

Laurel Holloman (LH): I was doing art and acting simultaneously at the University of Chapel Hill where I was trying to figure out what it was I wanted to do. It was almost like having a double major. I kept bouncing back and forth. And then the last couple years of college I focused on performance art with an amazingly inspiring teacher. It was an accumulation of all these things; I had an amazing art professor, where I did more sculpting, who said, “I think you should keep going.” And I just sort of laughed and was like, “What? Be an artist? Crazy!” I thought I was going to be an actor. And very quickly out of school I ended up getting a lead in a play in New York with good reviews and then going right into Two Girls In Love and then right to Sundance. I just remember sitting at Sundance thinking, “Oh ok, I guess I’m doing this now. Here I am.”

CG: Did you continue doing art throughout your acting career?

LH: I was in my twenties and once Two Girls went to Sundance it became work, work, work. But at the same time, my roommate was getting her Masters in Art History at Parsons, I dated a painter for a little while, it felt like I was surrounded by people who were in the art world or close to it. I’ve always been on the edges of it but not in it. Once I started acting I felt a pressure to make that work. Also an actor’s life is living in hotel rooms and traveling. Once I was going to rent a studio space and right before I signed the lease I booked two movies back to back and didn’t live anywhere for five months.

CG: It takes time to create a painting…

LH: It’s hard, especially because I paint with oils and it’s messy. It was during The L Word hiatuses when I got more discipline. I needed a creative outlet and that’s when it happened.

CG: In your artist statement you imply each piece you create is very personal and reflects your own emotions at the time. How do you title your paintings?

LH: Some of it is influenced by other artists. Bullet was painted to a Damien Rice song called “9 Crimes.” I listened to that album so much. Music inspires my titles and painting. She Burns My Eyes is also inside a Damien Rice lyric. Some of it is whatever is going on (in life) and some are left untitled – I just can’t put a title. Others are so obvious it must be titled. When I’m further away from the painting I’m able to really see how completely relevant the titles are to each.

CG: Tell me a bit more about your painting process… Can you provide some examples from your work?

LH: Swan Dive started in a more photo-authenticity way, where it was a woman who was diving into the water, her wrists were bound. I painted her from a skeleton frame first; I studied and sketched all these skeletons. And I’m not a great sketcher but I wanted to get the feel of what that was. And I have no idea why I bound her wrists, but I did. And the whole rest of Swan Dive I was scraping her away and then a series of glazes that went on top of her. If you see the painting in person you can still make out her rib cage and her wrists. I usually start with something more literal and I pull it back, and you’d have to look for it. Or there is poetry inside it, underneath or sketching. (continued on next page)

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