We recently had the great pleasure of meeting with San Francisco based artist and illustrator Holly Savas. Holly's work includes mixed-media collage, printmaking and illustrative design for both web and print.
Apart from being a brilliant illustrator, Holly also lends her hand to young artists & communities such as the New Traditions Creative Arts Elementary school, where she helps students make artwork for auctions, exhibitions and other great purposes.
Her current project involves restoring a 50-foot outdoor mural on school grounds with students in the fifth grade -- too cool!
We particularly love her colourful imagery :-)
Let's start with the basics: where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Madison, WI where I went to college. I have lived in San Francisco for the past 18 years.
How old are you?
41 years old.
When did you first get into illustration and design?
Ten years ago my husband and I quit our business jobs and moved to Seville, Spain. That's where I really started to make art and to draw professionally. I was always a very creative person growing up.
What drew you to this medium?
I love the medium of collage because it is very forgiving. There are many happy accidents that become the final piece. I am drawn to black and white illustration because it looks so clean and defined; very stark.
How would you describe your work?
A colleague calls my larger collage pieces 'confined chaos' which I find to be very apt. It's a good feeling to work within a bordered canvas; I can do whatever I want with colour or texture and still feel safe and contained.
Can you run us through your thought process when creating a new piece?
I start large with a color scheme in mind, and work to cover the canvas with pieces and shapes of color (using paint and paper) in interesting patterns. Once the background is done I go back in with smaller, sometimes contrasting details to complete the piece. If I'm going to make a series of smaller pieces, I will start with one larger canvas and then cut it into smaller pieces later.
What are some of your major influences?
I adore street art: murals especially. I have lived in Spain a few times, so I have a fondness for the Cubists. I love the way Georgia O'Keeffe used color and nature. I'm a big fan of Diebenkorn's abstract expressionist works. I love San Francisco-based artist Brad Brown's work.
Are there any artists you particular draw from?
Not really. I do have plenty of artist friends who have diligently created a body of work over time that has evolved over time. That's what I like to see: movement as an artist. Evolution.
Whose a dream client you would love to work with?
Someone who gives me carte blanche to create a large piece (or several small pieces) for a dedicated space in their home, someone who would give me a color scheme perhaps and just let me run with it.
What's a typical day for you?
I have two children ages four and seven, so each day is a mash up of school, activities, and finding time to complete design projects or work on a collage. I'm pretty active in the local art community also. On the weekends our family spends a lot of time in Golden Gate Park.
My favourite band right now is… I just discovered the Mowgli's - very uplifting music. I have a problem with their apparent misuse of the 'apostrophe s' in their name, but the music is good. Also have lately been listening to my husband's old band, Go Kart Go, from about fifteen years ago.
The last good movie I saw was… Good question. It has been a long, long time since I saw a truly good movie.
I hate it when… I am home sick.
I wish I could… clone myself.
After a long hard days work I like to unwind by… dark chocolate and binge-watching a decent television series with my husband.