Monday, November 3, 2014

CHRISTINA HOLLERING









What is your name?

Christina Hollering


Where are you from? 

Hmmm, that's a tricky one. I was born in Indianapolis but grew up in a military family so we moved every three years. I've live in North Carolina, Panama, Oklahoma, California, 
Las Vegas and then back to Indiana.


Where do you live? 

I currently live in Zionsville, Indiana with my husband, two children, a cat and a lizard.



When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

Ha! Not really sure I ever chose to be an artist. Growing up in a military family and being raised as an only child by my grandparents, I spent a lot of time by myself and had to find something to do. Between that, a lack of money and a heart condition that kept me from playing sports, I had to get creative to fill my time. I began drawing in kindergarten, as most of us do, and discovered it held my attention and made me feel good. After high school I never thought about college or my future. I stopped making art and just worked, drank and worried about boys. This lasted until I got married. After ten years of college and switching my major several times, I graduated from Herron School of Art and Design with a degree in painting in 2012. It wasn't until I went to art school that I even considered art as a career. However, two years after graduation and still working as an artist, I couldn't imagine being anything else.





Who influenced you as an artist?

I remember watching my grandmother draw. It was nothing serious to her but she was good! I use to draw everything and take it to her. She was so pleased and would give me honest constructive criticism. This positive reinforcement encouraged me to draw more and more because it made her happy. She still proudly displays my pinch pots and drawings from elementary school.



What is your favorite medium?

Watercolor, acrylic and paper cutting. Anything I use has to be non-toxic or my body freaks out.



Do you have a studio? Where is it?

I currently have two studios. The first one is Two-Thirds Studio in the Murphy Arts Center located near downtown Indianapolis. I share this studio with fellow artists: Lauren Ditchley, Daniel Del Real and Julie Young. My other studio is at home and is the one I've used the most since having my second child.





When did you become a mother?

 I had my daughter, Sophie, in 2007 when I was 26 and my son, Escher, in 2013 when I was 32.




What are your challenges as a mother artist?

Mobility and independence. I can't just move to another state or country for grad school or a job. My daughter has school and my husband has a career and both schedules must be taken into consideration before I agree to anything. 



What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist? 

Preventing grumpiness. When someone in the family starts getting grumpy or short tempered it's usually a good indicator that I've been too focused on work and need to spend quality time with whomever needs it. At the same time I have a strong pull within me to create so I have to find a way to fulfill this longing or my family will be dealing with my grumpiness. We love taking family vacations together and when we do we usually fit in an art museum day or a hiking day so that I can take reference photos. When spending time with my family, ideas are always percolating in the back of my mind . When I'm stuck in the studio, stepping away and focusing on the kids often clears up the blockage.  When I'm working in the studio my daughter is usually next to me either talking to me, making something or playing on the computer. At night I'll sketch while chatting with my husband. My family also comes with me to all my shows and events when possible.




When do you spend time making art?

I usually work during Escher's two naps during the day and then once the kids go to bed. This gives me approximately 4-8hrs a day to work. Before I had my baby I procrastinated more. Now that I have less time I'm more efficient with the time I do get and have learned to jump in instead of over thinking things which ultimately leads to procrastination. Being a mother has helped me master the art of doing it now and has taught me the importance of time management.



How many children do you have? Do you want more?

I currently have two. We would love to have more if we can. I would have ten if we had the resources. They are so cute, how can you not love them?




Have you ever considered giving up art in order to be a mother?

Not to be a mother. 
I have considered giving up art. As I said I did give up art making between the age 18-25 to pursue an more financially secure career. During that time though I still couldn't stop thinking about it. I was still visiting museums and going to shows. At this point in my life I could never give it up. It's deeply embedded into who I am. It's  an obsession. When I'm not creating I'm watching movies about art, reading about art, looking at someone else's art, thinking about art etc.



Do you have support from your family and friends to keep making art?

Always. I don't think I have one family member that doesn't own a piece of my art. They are always more than happy to give my work a home and proudly tell others about their artist family member. My husband is the best though. He's the one that convinced me to change my major and pursue my passion. Not to mention he supports me financially and provides me with honest feedback and suggestions.



Do you feel like you are taken seriously as a mother artist?

I think so. I don't really think about it much. People usually only take you as seriously as you take yourself. I only have so much time and energy so I use it to focus on my work and not the thoughts of others. In my experience, there will always be negative people who can find something to criticize. So if I'm not being judged for being a mother artist, I would be criticized for being a woman, an American, a Christian or whatever else someone disagrees with. You can't control the opinions of others so it's best just to ignore them and stay focused on your goals.






Has becoming a mother influenced your art?

Yes! It's cliche but when you have children you see the world through new eyes. They are always so passionate about life and curious about everything. So many ideas have developed through an event with my kids. Trips to the zoo, museums, hikes, movies, homework, reading and just learning and exploring together. They expose you to things you wouldn't even consider investigating yourself.





Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society?

 Probably. The Internet has been a great equalizer. The work is often seen and judged before the artist. Many times I've seen an image online and not even been aware of the name of the artist let alone their sex.



What do you say when someone asks "what does your husband do for a living?" are you offended by such a question? 

My husband is a computer programmer. I'm never offended when someone asks. I'm pretty sure I ask people all the time what their husbands do for a living. I have had people refer to him as my sugar daddy or say , "it must be nice." It is nice. I have a great deal of respect for my husband and he is a wonderful father, husband and provider. He's always been supportive of whatever endeavor I  pursue.




What is your story?

I was born in Indianapolis and moved around a lot. I  lived in Las Vegas for five years. Made a lot of bad decisions. Finally made the right decision and moved back to Indy when I was eighteen. Met my husband through a mutual friend after we had both conveniently just gotten out of long term relationships. We got married, moved to Kokomo, IN and got pregnant three months later, not planned, and had our beautiful baby Sophie. I was attending IUK at the time and switched my major from psychology to fine arts shortly after I had her so I've never known life as an artist (as an adult) without children. Most of the other students in my classes were parents as well so I never thought of the two roles as mutually exclusive. After IUK I transferred to Herron School of Art and Design, graduated in 2012 and have been making and showing art ever since.




What have you learned about balancing motherhood and your passions?

Everything takes time and time is easily wasted so if I want to watch twenty episodes of House I make sure to do so while working. It's also about carving out time for both your work and  your family and being intentional about it. I make sure I take the time and treat studio time as a job with scheduled working hours.


What advice can you offer other mother artists about pursuing their passions regardless of their situation?

Humans are very adaptive and incredible problem solvers. You may feel stuck but creativity often stems from our limitations. If you feel trapped or hindered by your circumstances try to change your perspective or consider it a game, a challenge or a problem to be solved. Other women work and raise children. It can and is being done. Read about or ask other mothers how they do it. Also, ask for help. In the past I've paid my neighbor's daughter to play with Sophie for a few hours while I worked upstairs. It's amazing what you can get done in a few hours when you want to and a few hours here and there add up quickly.




What do you want to be remembered for as an artist? 


Good work? I recently had a cancer scare which really helped to put things into perspective as well a put an urgency into my art making. My first thoughts were, be nicer, spend more time with my family and make stuff faster because frankly, when you're gone the only thing left is what you leave behind. So that's the plan, leave my family with a crap load of art and good memories.



For more information please check out the following links: 

http://christinahollering.com

http://instagram.com/christina_hollering

https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaHolleringArt?fref=nf



* All photographs were submitted and belong to the artist. 

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