Artist Hollie Dilley

Photographed for Chambers Project Gallery in Nevada City, CA

About Hollie Dilley

My art is born from an animalistic world that calls to me, a world I do not understand, but I am extremely drawn to it.  Every piece I make brings me that much closer to understanding this realm.  I cannot define it, all I can do is bring these inspirations into temporal reality with my art.  Luckily I have found ceramics and taxidermy and have been able to add to the effects with small metal work and detailed glazing techniques.  These techniques have helped me realize my vision.  I do not spend too much time critically dissecting the reasoning behind my artistic motives, and that is fine for me, because it liberates me and gives me the freedom to channel these inspirations without feeling trapped inside walls.  All I seek in life is profound freedom, and I need that to transcend into my art.  I am always creating something- when not sculpting I can often be found hovered over a wheel throwing cups for local restaurants or installing reclaimed redwood for local businesses.

My main entrance into sculpture precipitated from a love for the vinyl toys of the lowbrow art movement. I was drawn to the figurative focus of the forms and the narratives that they brought along with them.  Each piece tends to tell a story of its own; while viewed together they fit into some kind of mythology only a contemporary mind can contemplate.  

For years I worked with clay, bronze and small metals to achieve my vision. But one fateful weekend I attended a pair of taxidermy workshops at Paxton Gate in SF and everything fell into place. I dove headfirst into taxidermy, at first approaching it from a traditional sense, learning the delicate techniques and processes. My community got word that I was doing taxidermy and every week people would bring me dead animals (in varying degrees of decay) that were found on roads and in the woods. My alpaca vet even brought me a stillborn alpaca. I feel like this was all meant to be. Once I became acquainted with the skills of taxidermy I was able to fuse this ancient and misunderstood art form into my own. My foray into creating these mythical creatures had finally received this last element, a piece I didn’t know was missing until it was right there in my hands. 

Each work of art that I make carries with it this yearning to represent a story that is constantly evolving.  It is up to the viewer to make his or her own connections.  My art aims to tap into a surrealist sense of time and place that exists beyond this realm, yet in the collective consciousness of those who see the more playful facets of reality. The reality that encompasses our daily lives is constantly being obscured by pressure from increasingly powerful technology that threatens to destroy the beauty of the natural world.  My art used to focus on this moment where nature and industry are bound together, but now with my ability to utilize taxidermy and remnants of previously living creatures, my art aims to break those chains and head back to where everything comes from-nature. 

My greatest hope is that through my art these sentient beings can find a new, more permanent and appreciated existance. Much like reincarnation, the animals that walked this earth are now transposed into new forms, unaware of the past yet poised to navigate the future. 

Courtesy of HollieDilley.com



Hollie Dilley