News - Holly V Maslen - Artist, Designer, Illustrator

PICK UP THE PIECES: PHOTO GALLERY

Photo Credits to : Barrie Robinson 2019

Posted: May 22nd, 2019
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The plastic collecting seed was sewn quite some years ago in Morocco. I walked with my friends next to the wild Atlantic Ocean in search of Paradise Beach. It was a long walk and our anticipation grew as we walked. After much scrambling over cliffs and calls of “nearly there” we arrived. Paradise was not a word which immediately sprung to mind. It was just at the end of the tourist season and the beach umbrellas were gently floating away towards the horizon, piles of rubbish resided near the water’s edge….we decided not to hang around. A donkey driven cart passed by, so we jumped on and headed back to Asilah.  The cart took us the “back way” where we witnessed piles of cardboard boxes and mountains of rubbish and, with horror, I realised people were actually living there. It was so shocking I kept my camera in its case, although my instinct was to capture this terrible scene so I could validate the reality of it later.

 

Had we not seen this other side of Asilah we would have left thinking it was a blue and white haven of tranquility and cleanliness. This story repeated itself all over Morocco. A four hour drive into the mountains? Great! Beautiful! No houses! No people! No cars….but wait….what’s that? A huge rubbish mountain dumped in the middle of nowhere amongst the real mountains of nature. My mantra throughout that trip became ” Next time I’m going to Sweden”

 

But, I started thinking…..all this stuff is laying around, why not pick it up and make things from it and do the Planet a favour at the same time. However, I’m not very good at making things and once I’d left Morocco I had no particular desire to rush back. Several years later, probably through a combination of boredom and inspiration (these things seem to go hand in hand) I picked up some plastic from the beach in Bembridge and reconnected to that desire to make something out of what I found laying around….which never happened because, as I said, I’m not a maker, I’m an illustrator. I remember being surprised though at the amount of plastic I found on what seemed, at least superficially, to be a clean beach. I washed the bits I’d found and lay them out in the sun to dry and to contemplate what it was I was never going g to be able to make, and that was enough to start the process.

 

I looked at the colours, the shapes. I wondered about the journey of the individual pieces,  I wondered about their history and I knew that I didn’t have to construct a three dimensional artwork, it was enough to just place these pieces on the ground. So I came to this environmental project very much via the route of art, which makes sense, because I’m an artist, not an environmentalist, but sometimes I feel that being an artist is a curse. It’s not a career path I would choose, but rather a career path which has chosen me, whether I like it or not, and sometimes I don’t like it at all! I often find art to be pointless and frustrating, I question my motives, my direction, my benefit to society as a whole. Using plastic to create my work makes art the by product, it reduces it’s importance whilst conversely elevating it’s importance, due to the nature of how the images come about.

 

The amount of information available on how to improve the Planet can be overwhelming. Solutions are offered on one hand, whilst on the other, those very solutions often seem to have their own problems attached. It’s a never ending cycle of confusion and the magnitude of what we’re facing is sometimes too much to take in. My personal way of dealing with this is to take things down to the most basic level. There is rubbish on the beach. The beach is within walking distance. I have legs to walk there and hands to pick up the rubbish. The rubbish I’ve collected then won’t go back into the sea to affect marine life. Putting this another way, the Isle of Wight has a population of around 140, 000 and 57 miles of coastline. That equates to 2,456 people per mile of coast. Are 2,456 people not capable of cleaning one mile of coastline? I think they are….and all they have to do is walk to the beach and Pick Up The Pieces!

Posted: May 21st, 2019
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Following on from my exhibition Pick Up The Pieces at The Bunker in St Lawrence, Isle of Wight, I have a collection of testimonials and photographs, showing the various impacts of the exhibition on those who visited.

 

“Against the stark concrete walls of The Bunker, a wonderful space in its own right, the art stood out as a collection of highly prized artifacts. The initial impression was that of the neatly organised tea light candles, grouped by colour, which were of course in fact bottle tops. The treasures on display were a mix of once loved toys, rims of cleaning fluid bottles, fragments of packaging, and oddities yet to be identified, bright, colourful, beautiful in form and in presentation, and concurrently a devastating reminder of how we have converted what will be viewed in historic terms as a highly valuable and scarce resource, into meaningless litter which pollutes our oceans, poisons all creatures including ourselves, and which will be one of a handful of selfish legacies we leave for our children and their children. Pick Up The Pieces represented a soul wrenching reflection of our naivety. Holly Maslen is an exemplary artist whose message and mission comes from a place of truth and light, and her exhibition, Pick Up The Pieces, a call to action.

 

If you attended Pick Up The Pieces and continue to accept plastic waste, however begrudgingly, you are part of the problem.”

Barrie Robinson,

Designer, Digital Innovator and Creative Director

 

 

“What an amazing experience at Holly Maslen’s pop-up exhibition Pick Up The Pieces magnificently staged in an old bunker on a cliff top overlooking the treasured coastline where these flotsam/artworks were found. I was particularly captivated by the shotgun shells, arranged on a floating glass plinth, looking every bit like a row of glass goblets in the V & A. Detritus transformed into high art. And each beach clean was commemorated with a poignant poem. So many emotions tied up in creating works like this. Congratulations Holly!”

Lisa Heath

Artist and Jewellery Maker

 

 

“Holly Maslen cleverly put this little blinder together,  an installation of items/rubbish she has gathered from the beaches of the Isle of Wight. Very thought provoking,  not only in how crap we are as a species but also in taking that discarded and repositioning not only it’s physical place but also it’s context. Bravo Holly.”

James Spalding

Chef

 

“Very thought provoking and current.  The shotgun cartridge wads especially resonated with me. I can see people clay pigeon shooting off the back of cruise ships –  I can feel some lobbying coming on !!!!”

Robert Primmer

 

“With Pick up the Pieces Holly has transformed the discarded into the regarded.  Though it speaks to our culture of waste it transforms every piece, creating a narrative for each.  The original shape has been worn and coloured by it’s journey through the world reflecting the human condition and raises questions of our own worth and shape of our personal narrative.”

Julian Winslow

Photographer

 

“Pick Up The Pieces really was a thought provoking exhibition that really does make you think about the sheer scale of plastic pollution we face as a planet. We can all do our bit and make a difference slowly but surely. Amazing work.”

Cordelia Dewey

IOW Surfers Against Sewage Ambassador

 

“Loved the exhibition.Thought provoking. Definately made me more aware of how horrible and over used plastic is. Loved the layout and the poems.”

Suzanne Whitmarsh

Artist


 

“Sobering, inspiring, thought provoking, moving and weirdly beautiful! A superb exhibition in a space which seemed very apt. I hope a lot of people get to see it.”

 

Susie Prangnell

Artist

 

“Holly Maslen’s display exhibition from her beachcombing all around the Island is beautifully done, categorised both in colour and items. Poems from her experience on the day, and a map of the locations with interesting detail of her findings. I think Holly has created a most wonderful and interesting display and the poems create just the right mood and picture in my mind.”

 

Birgit Ackroyd

Artist

I really enjoyed this exhibition, though of course it made me feel sadness at the state we find our selves in now.

Holly’s handling of this subject was easy to engage with. The arduous task of reclaiming thousands of pieces of plastic from our beauty spots around the Island and her poignant display using pattern and colour really bought home the point or pointlessness of so much of our throw away everyday activities.

Love Holly’s poems! Funny, clever and frank.

Elaine McCracken

Artist

 

 

 

Posted: May 21st, 2019
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I started to develop my abstract paintings in 2018 whilst in my gallery on Bembridge Harbour. I now have a studio on the Isle of Wight, where I am free to develop this work further.

Certain brushmarks seem to reoccur in my work at the moment. I’m interested in the action, and the uncertainty of “getting it right” first time around. Often, I don’t,  and the paintings are a result of many workings and re-workings.

I do not want to intellectualise my work. As a huge fan of abstract work I know that sometimes even one simple brush mark on a plain canvas can make me feel incredibly happy when looking at it. This is all I am aiming for in my paintings, to create something the viewer won’t get tired of looking at, and something which gives a simple pleasure.  I am influenced by colour combinations I see around me in nature, but beyond that, the paintings are instinctive, emotional and based around feelings rather than solid ideas.

If you would like to purchase a painting please send me an email to hollyvmaslen@yahoo.com and I will get it packaged up and shipped off to you. All postage is included in the price.

DON’T ASK
acrylic on canvas
12″ × 12″
£125

CALIFORNIA DREAMS
acrylic on canvas
16″ × 12″
£150

A DAY AT THE BEACH
acrylic on canvas
20″ × 16″
£200

SAINTS AND SINNERS
acrylic on canvas
24″ × 18″
£225

EMERGING I
acrylic on canvas
24″ × 18″
£225

RIDE THE WEDDING CAR
acrylic on canvas
30″ × 16″
£250

GOODBYE
acrylic on canvas
30″ × 20″
£275

KIDS IN PARIS
acrylic on canvas
30″ × 20″
£275

EMERGING II
acrylic on canvas
40″ × 30″
£400

Posted: January 31st, 2019
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I decided at the end of last year that 2019 needed to be a year of change. Having run galleries for nearly three years, I felt it was time to invest and concentrate on my own work.

Luckily I found a studio space which allows me to focus without interruption and develop new work….but in order to develop new work it’s always good to clear away the old, which is why I’m hosting a weekend Pop Up event at my house.

There will be a large range of work on sale, from paintings, sculptures, greeting cards, collage, drawing painting on slate, wood and bark. I will be making tea and coffee ( and flapjacks) and stoking the fire, so please pop in if you can. Details as follows:

ART HOUSE POP UP

Tregaron, Dennett Road, Bembridge, PO35 5XD

Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd of Feb

10am-4pm

 

Posted: January 29th, 2019
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EXHIBITION DATES: The Bunker, Old Park Road, St Lawrence, IOW, P038 1XR.

Saturday 18th May Private View 6pm onwards.

Sunday 19th May Open 10am-5pm

Saturday 25th May Open 10am-5pm

“Pick Up The Pieces” is a project based on the Isle of Wight where, over the last six months, I have visited as many beaches, coves and bays as I could, collecting all the plastic waste I found along the way. I wanted to make it to every beach but work commitments have slowed the project down and, seeing as I’ve been working on this project through a passion I have also had to dedicate time to “paid work” in order for me to support my “passion”.

The findings from each beach have been weighed, the pieces counted, and my findings documented in order to start building up a picture of the levels of plastic pollution on the Island. I’ve picked up over 5000 individual pieces of plastic weighing over 70lbs. All of the information will be marked clearly on a large map of the Island and displayed at Pick Up The Pieces exhibition.

 

I’m incredibly excited to reveal that the exhibition will be held at an awe inspiring WWII Bunker (owned by Lincoln Miles and Lisa Traxler) overlooking the sea in St Lawrence, IOW. It is the perfect setting for this exhibition as the location brings home the impact of our actions upon our coastline.

 

 

The central piece of the exhibition will feature 310 pieces of individual plastic clearly laid out in a grid-like formation as the act of isolating some of the pieces hasa strance effect, which you won’t understand until you see it. Pick Up The Pieces will also feature poems written whilst on the beaches and several installation pieces aimed at delivering a high impact message about the current state of our Planet.

 

Pick Up The Pieces is an ambitious and important  project in terms of improving our coastline and the lives of creatures who live both below, and above the water. My hopes are also to spark connections, future collaborations and discussions which will hopefully push the message contained within the exhibition further afield.

Admission to the exhibition is strictly by invitation only. Please register your interest to be placed upon the guest list by emailing me at hollyvmaslen@yahoo.com All sponsors of the project will automatically be invited. Please follow the link http://www.ecoartconservation.bigcartel.com to secure your “reward” and your invitation to the Private View on Saturday 18th May 2019.

Posted: November 21st, 2018
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Tiny Homes Holidays is set in a beautiful woodland on the Isle of Wight,  and fully promotes an eco friendly lifestyle. There is a fantastic facility on site, which makes Tiny Homes Holidays stand out as being different; the communal dining and workshop area. The only thing missing from this room is the feeling of bringing the outside in, and this is where I step in….

 

I propose to paint a mural, in my signature style, incorporating thirteen British animals, birds and insects into a magical scene. Each animal, insect or bird can be sponsored for £100 and in return for sponsorship you will be supporting British Wildlife as 15% will be donated to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. You will also receive an A3 print of the mural design, ten greeting cards of your chosen animal, and your name will appear on the mural wall under a list of sponsors. All sponsors will also be invited to a free, informal supper at Tiny Homes Holidays to view the mural when complete, and you are also entitled to a whopping 25% discount on a Tiny Homes Holiday!

 

As an artist I feel increasingly that I want my work to be supportive of worthy environmental causes in order to promote a better quality of life for both animals and humans alike.

 

To sponsor an animal, bird or insect please simply email hollyvmaslen@yahoo.com with your choice/choices and I will get back to you with further details.

 

Let’s bring the outside in and help British Wildlife thrive in the process 🙂

 

Welcome to Tiny Homes Holidays

http://www.hiwwt.org.uk

 

Hare

Dormouse

Snail

Bumble Bee

Stoat

Red Squirrel

Hedgehog

Deer

Fox

Badger

Blackbird

Magpie

Bat

Communal area at Tiny Homes

Posted: September 12th, 2018
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It seems a silly thing to say, because all original art is unique, a one off, but I feel the slate on wood pieces reflect this to a greater degree than say a painting,  or a drawing, because of the nature of the found materials. Each piece of slate has been picked up by myself on a beach walk. Random finds which dictate the shape, colour and feel of what gets painted onto them at a later date. The wood comes from a friend who works in a woodyard where these offcuts are often available. I like the stages of producing these pieces, from the walks on the beach, to the painting of the slate, to finding the right layout on the blocks of wood, to the finished piece. They are all free standing, or can be hung on the wall.

RETRO SERIES
“Nature”
£25

RETRO SERIES
“Forest”
£25

 

NORDIC SERIES
“Folklaw”
£25

Posted: March 26th, 2018
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Sometimes an idea can live in your head for a long time before it comes to life in the “real world”. My series of Drop Heads have been one of those ideas. Always working in 2D, I doubted my ability to turn some of my designs into 3D reality, but eventually I had to grab the bull by the horns and give it a go.

Drop Heads are carefully constructed out of papier mache, usually about five or six layers, before being painted white (3 layers) and finally the fun part of painting the design takes place! Each Drop Head has a name, and I have asked artist friends to name them for me, so that they can take on characters as perceived by the viewer,  rather than the creator. The varying prices reflect the sizes of each piece.

Hang ’em up and enjoy!

 

OUCHIE
£45

 

GRETA
£95

 

MARGOT
£45

 

DAISY (left)
£95
AISHA (centre)
£55
KYLIE (right)
£95

Posted: March 15th, 2018
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Every week “Illustration Friday” announces a theme (on a Friday) and artists all over the World have one week to come up with something original based around that theme. Having recently got back into drawing, after a year focusing on curating my gallery, I’m quiet excited to have a focus and to perhaps draw things I never would have thought to draw myself.

Here is my first entry, on the theme of “Sailor”.

 

SAILOR
pen & ink

 

This is my second entry for Illustration Friday, on the theme of Neighbour. If you lived somewhere as remote as this I think your neighbours would be rather important 🙂

 

NEIGHBOUR
pen and ink

 

Posted: July 27th, 2017
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