Studio 46, 47-51 Hawks Road, Kingston, KT1 3DS

My Story

My Story & My Artwork

My name is Skye Holland. I’m a contemporary fine artist and alumni of Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London.  I’ve been practicing and exhibiting my art for over thirty years whilst doing many other projects to support my practice.  This all alongside raising two fine young adults across two continents. I make drawings, paintings and prints using mixed media.  Often on paper, but also on canvas and wood.  I regularly work in series or collections, including the Fragile Earth, Icarus, Thoughts on Deedsand the Wild.

My early creative years were principally influenced by my mum, a dressmaker, designer and dress manufacturer with a business in London.  She instilled in me an entrepreneurial spirit as well as cultivating a bridge between creativity and business.

When I create art, I draw my inspiration and ideas from my environment which is a mix of urban and natural.  Because I grew up with horses, originally wanted to be a vet and spent ten years in Africa, I have a strong connection with animals and natural sciences.  I’m concerned with protecting our planet, it’s wild habitats and the diverse and beautiful flora and fauna which are impacted negatively by a clumsy human imprint.  The imbalances disturb natural equilibrium which keeps us all alive and thriving.

 Life in Africa & my passion for wildlife conservation

Skye Holland Africa

I spent the 1990’s in South Africa with my young family. It was an incredible experience none of us will forget as for the first time, we stepped into true wildernesses with wild animals roaming free. It was incredible and so beautiful. 

Fast forward to my Kingston studio in 2015 when I discovered that the last West African Black Rhino had become officially extinct.  I studied photographic images of the shy but naturally aggressive dense bush dweller and started immediately drawing and painting a huge 150x120cm drawing.  It was emotional, emotive and powerful (now owned by a young family in London).  That was the beginning of the Wild series of works which include Leopard, Cheetah, Lion, Elephant and Rhino.   All now facing critical endangerment due to climate change, poaching, illegal hunting, illegal animal products trade and loss of habitat.  If we lose them, we are also losing ourselves. 

 

How I make my art, using metallic pigments, gold leaf and diamond dust to bring my work to life and celebrate.

Whilst my subjects are sometimes challenging, I am playful, popping colour and using titles to provoke. My artistic voice sits between something recognisable and more abstracted and expressionist.  There’s a graphic edge which comes from my printmaking roots and a love of design.  In the end, it’s up to my audience to interpret what they see.  If my work makes you react, think, connect or feel something, then I know I’m making a difference.

With the animal paintings, the skeletal form, muscle, hide, light and movement is built with transparent and opaque layering, almost like sculpting.  I use drawing (sometimes with sticks or wads of cloth) drips, whips, bleeds and pools of ink and paint with a collection of brushes and tools I’ve collected over decades.  Every brush has it’s own personality and gives me a unique mark or stroke.

My research is generally done with my iPhone camera, trawling the internet and screen grabs from wildlife documentaries, note-making and sketching.  Once I’m back in the studio, all this is pushed to one side and my intuitive drawing and painting begins.  Quite often I’ll use music to move me into the right headspace and flow. 

Sometimes I use materials such as gold leaf, metallic pigments and diamond dust.   I see this as celebratory, almost deifying like old religious icons.

Where I exhibit, who my collectors are, undertaking commissions…. Testimonials

My collectors are creative souls who like me, are concerned about the environment, climate change and losing beautiful wild animals from our planet forever. They care that I use sustainable materials where possible and that my work lasts for more than a lifetime because I use archival quality materials (slow art!).   They also like to know that when they support me by collecting my work, they also support wildlife conservation as I regularly donate original artwork for fundraising events. 

I have often worked to commission, creating bespoke work for beautiful spaces and homes.   Do contact me to discuss a special project or if you’d like more information about the process.

Follow me on social media or sign up to my newsletter to find out about latest news, artworks, the person behind the art and also about upcoming events.  I always appreciate you and respect your privacy.   

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Testimonials from some of my wonderful friends & clients!

michael Serwa home leopard painting

"I’m the proud owner of not one but two of Skye’s artworks. To decide which one I love best would be like asking a parent to decide which of their two kids they love more. 

One takes pride of place as the focal point of my living room, making just the kind of impression on my guests you would expect from such a statement piece. It doesn’t take an expert to appreciate that Skye’s technique is both unique and remarkable in equal measure. 

Having known Skye for many years now, I can attest that her wonderful presence and who she is as a human makes the experience of working with her as delightful as experiencing her art itself."

Michael Serwa, coach for the elite, London, May 2021

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Lounge leopard painting

I wanted a unique piece of art for my large reception room…. I visited Skye’s studio and fell in love with a painting of a Lioness.  However, the dimensions didn’t fit so Skye suggested  a commission based on a fantastic image of a Leopard .  The result is a unique and amazing artistic statement.  The mixed media grabs you as soon as you enter the room.  The colours are incredible and the piece is quite a talking point with guests.   Skye’s attention to detail, including recommending just the right mount and frame and her responsiveness was fantastic and much appreciated.

I would wholeheartedly recommend her for that special and unique piece of art you’re looking for.

John Goddard, London, April 2021.

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Skye Holland elephant

Elephant in Charge has pride of place in our kitchen - a wonderful, vibrant and engaging piece of work that I enjoy looking at every day!

the commissioning process was straightforward, Skye responded to our brief, was constant in communications with us and the final artwork was delivered on time and without any hiccups

Patrick Tolhurst

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Skye Holland Sarah nude commission

A Boudoir Portrait for Sarah, July 2021

I couldn’t recommend Skye highly enough. From the moment we spoke on the phone she put me completely at ease, sending me pictures and testimonials from other women and telling me all about what to expect, what to bring etc. The session itself was just fantastic. I was quite nervous walking into the studio but Skye was so welcoming, her generosity and kindness shone through from the minute I met her. I came to the session with some ideas about how I wanted to be drawn from Skye’s previous portraits, and as we tried out a few poses Skye had the camera so I could see what they all looked like.

This meant that she helped me find something I was really comfortable with. I’m so happy with the end result! I was totally blown away by how quickly she was able to capture me and I love all of the small details that have been brought to life, such as my hair. I had initially bought this as a birthday gift for my fiancé but I have to say that I now see it more as a gift for myself. Leaving the studio that Friday I felt so empowered and more confident and at ease with myself than I’ve been in years! There is something really special about walking into that studio with Skye and I challenge anyone not to come out feeling on top of the world.

 

 Some surprising facts about me!

  • I’m the only hearing member of my family and so my second language is sign language, which is very visual.
  • I interpreted the live televised election process where Nelson Mandela was voted the first black president of South Africa in 1994. I met him twice face to face, a giant of a man and one of my heroes.
  • I originally wanted to be a vet but ended up at art school, so I’ve always had a strong connection to the natural world, animals and the respect of science.
  • I’ve worked with NGO’s, been a sign-language interpreter, established and run an antiques centre with an international style café and worked on TV.
  • I once spent a week in a maximum security prison outside Pretoria, working with lifers creating masks on a transformation programme called Silence the Violence
  • I’m an established art consultant…I put together contemporary art collections for blue chip banks, businesses and private collectors.
  • I’m an author: I co-authored three resource books for art learning in South African schools, the Live Art series published by Heineman International
  • Last year, I painted an oil portrait of an NHS consultant working on the Covid frontline as part of the Portraits of NHS Heroesinitiative by painter Matthew Burroughs. My painting was featured in a coffee table publication by Bloomsbury publishing.
  • I just launched my first NFT artworks on Open Sea. No idea how it works but my son is directing me!