Holly Hinkle's work flies off the walls. Although she only started creating art within the past year, the 27-year-old has already made a notable splash in the arts scene. Hinkle shows exclusively at Edifice Gallery, and has sold around 95 percent of her works in the past three group shows to which she's contributed. This weekend, 16 of her new works will debut at Nocturnal Mockery 8.
Mixed-media collage defines the genre of Hinkle's work, and the play between textures in her pieces lifts them out of kitschy, crafty territory. Hinkle starts with antique plates, shadowboxes or porcelain dishes purchased from secondhand stores, then adds cut-out images, delicate wires or little jewels for embellishment. The end results are refined feminine melodramas, shrunk to the size of small novels.
"I feel like I'm telling a story in this very small scale," says Hinkle, a San Diego native who's now lived in the Springs for eight years.
Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick, John Singer Sargent's "Madame X" and Andrew Wyeth's Christina are a few of the women whose photographs anchor Hinkle's works; with scissors, artist's blades and tweezers, Hinkle suspends their images in delicate settings. Those women's biographies, however, are of just as much importance as their images.
In fact, narratives are the genesis for her art. Hinkle earned a degree in English and claims poetry as her original source of expression. She wrote poems describing paintings and iconic women such as Frida Kahlo with such a visual bent that when she came around to executing a piece of art, it only seemed natural.
Edifice Gallery co-owner Jason Herzog watched her progression at last season's Noc Moc: "She saw that artwork doesn't have to be just painting, or just photography. It's whatever you want it to be."
From there, he says, she developed a unique style. Hinkle isn't just reprocessing pretty faces; each piece is a thoughtful conglomeration of admiration and emotion. She says she puts a famous or universal image onto a new canvas, leaving it "there for the taking."
"[She's] gathering these other experiences and pulling them into one element," Herzog continues. "It's really not that much different than painting, except the technique is different."
That Hinkle's created her style so quickly, and to such sparkling sales and buyer reviews, amounts to a hefty feat. That said, the relative newbie can still feel like an artistic lightweight.
"Sometimes I'll look my materials that I use," Hinkle says, "l'll look at the image and I'll say, 'This is so basic.'
"I think that the only thing for me that validates mixed-media artwork that I do," she continues, "is what I'm feeling when I'm making it."