“I’m a boutique hotel girl”. Interview with Laurel Holloman


Her exhibition is entitled “My Heart is free”. World famous American actress Laurel Holloman is first of all an artist who studied at UCLA and the San Francisco Art Institute. When asked what being a “free heart” means for a painter, Laurel Holloman does not seem to hesitate: “I wanted to call this exhibition “Coeur Libre”, My Heart is free, based on some changes I had lived. A couple of years ago, I got a divorce and… I also walked away for a little while from a twenty-year acting career. I had only ever known that, because I started acting really early as a teenager. And there is something about the freedom, being open to something new, being available in this way to new relationships, new careers, new passions and new creativity. I was feeling really contained as an actor. I was also feeling limited and I knew that I needed to get back into something I did earlier, and that was to get back to painting.  It is something I was passionate about and once I started back in, I realized that it was like having a new lover, I don’t know how to explain it, I could not stop! I knew that I needed to get better. And I think for me there was this transition where I felt like I explored everything in acting , I wanted to explore, because it started to feel more like a job, less like a passion… and I think it is very scary to walk away from something that you know you’ve done well  and then go into something new, but it was pulling me in just such an intense way that  I just kept going. I also think that because by being around architects, interior designers, I  was always around visual people and it was like a “sponging” of that energy … and then I was not picking Entertainment weekly or film maker magazines,  I was picking Elle Deco, Architecture Record, travel magazines, design magazines.  I was exploring totally different ways. I was educating myself on architects , on artists and different painters. It was such a passion, and it just kept  growing…”


Who are your favorite artists?

Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas… so many people ! There’s a little bit of Bacon in your paintings… and where are the lights? It’s like under painting. I like that feeling that a painting can structure itself in three dimensions. It becomes more alive, it’s pushing itself away from the canvas, and the only way to get that is to work on the under painting. I feel like movement is everything in abstract art, you have to consistently show some sort of movement, like it can’t just be flat, the things have to move, the stroke has to move, there has to be movement one way or the other. Everytime I look at something that is really masterful, there is movement there and also, just the boldness of playing with titles, having fun with it… like the painting behind you, It’s Irreversible, it is basically a sunset turned over. But it is abstract, I switched it to upside down, it’s kind of … it plays on the fact that when the sun goes down, at that moment it is irreversible , not coming up for a certain amount of time;  I think there is a lot of things going on with the titles. I remember when I first titled, I had a friend who was really hard on me and said “you’re so good at titles, you need to go back and dig a little deeper”. And it’s tricky and I’m getting that it’s another passion of mine. People are drowning in front of a piece of art, not only because of the painting, but also because the title the way it’s titled… the way you’re looking at it and you don’t know, and when you see the title, then something else clicks over in your head. To me it is very similar to the songs in music.


What is your favorite paiting in this exhibition?

Red Rain. I felt like Red Rain was one of the last paintings I painted. There was a lot of paintings that …I was tapping into something but I did not really hit it until I got to Red Rain. Was I was trying to work on before was brush strokes that reveal back colors and then blending. You see a lot of painters, they make a choice: they’re either “bold brush stroke   painter” or they’re “blenders”. You’re getting movement out of that. I wanted to see if I could blend the top part until it is blurry like a film image, but then rush the brush strokes underneath it, so you had two different textures. You are smooth on top and rough on the bottom. But the challenge was to give the movement going into a direction where it had an emotional context to it. So it was a “three things” going on. At the end of Red Rain, I said “that’s where I want to go”

So for me, I look at the early paintings and there’s sort of me trying to play around with that, but I thought that Red Rain was like cracking a prime number in math or something. I finally hit it, that’s what I wanted to explore. The ticket now is to go back and explore and create in a way that emotionally expresses something. That’s a challenge!


On this Hopper painting, you look very much like the woman on the right. What is on your mind?

He’s on my screensaver right now, because my seven-year old daughter loves it! She’s wondering why he left or something… she’s confused. It is that emotion; all of his paintings have this feeling of a little bit of abandonment.


You travel a lot, without your daughters. How do you manage to create your own marks?

I like to put all my products, I unpack right away and I make everything like at home. I think it is because I travel so much; in the film industry, I was always travelling and shooting, or being in a trailer. I have learnt very quickly that you cannot just throw your bags down, you have to unpack… I’m really into the toiletries, the little shampoos and then I take them with m . I am still a little kid about that! Or I bring them back for my kids, to say: “this is from Milan, this is from Rome, this is from Paris”!

Do you have favorite hotels?

I stayed at the Ritz, but I like Hotel Bel Ami better, I like modern hotels, lively atmospheres, the Hotel Pulitzer in Barcelona, is one of my favorites, God, I could keep going… the Bulgari Hotel in Milan – they have the best spa! One of the best spas I’ve been to. Esthetically it is just gorgeous. And then I love a lot of Californian hotels, like the Ventana… I was just in New-York and I stayed at 60 Thompson . Just a couple of weeks  ago, I love 60 Thompson. I’m a boutique girl! I like modern, boutique, I like the atmosphere… I mean I appreciate things like… I stayed at the Ritz but I am more like a lively… Bel Ami is a really nice hotel. And they have been so accommodating to me, going back and forth with my brushes and everything.

And if you were allowed to paint your own hotel room, what color would you pick?

Well, there’s light green in my show, which is the spring, the change of the season. I would paint a hotel green because in a hotel, it’s small, you do not get enough plants and things, but if you painted the whole room green, well…that’s what I would do.



Laurel Holloman website

Exhibition Coeur Libre (My heart is free), from April 4th to 2April 21st, 2012

Mairie du Ve
21 Place du Pantheon -75005 Paris


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