How did you get into art, what does it mean to you?
Since I was a child, I could sit in my room and make drawings. When I was around 17, the whole Hip Hop wave from the USA hit Europe, with Breakdance, and Graffiti. Being at the right age, having a bit of a rebel in me, and an interest of making large scale „drawings“ I was totally hooked, and was making graffiti for about 8 years in Denmark. In the mid 90’s I started to do my first paintings on canvas. First, it was abstract works, then words and sentences started to take over my paintings, with words and questions all over the paintings and my interest in making art was beginning. I didn’t grow up in a home with Art, but my teacher in my school was taking us to the local Museum every month to talk about art, so I don’t know if she started my interest in art, or if it was my own urge.
What inspires you? How do you choose your topics?
During the last year at the academy, my interest in humans who struggle most in life and all the challenges in life began. I believe that for me personally, it is interesting and challenging research, to visit homeless people, refugees, and talk to people who suffered in life, a lot of people don’t want to face or talk about the challenges in life we all will experience one time or another in life, be it divorce, death, stress etc. Mostly I use my camera to take photos of people and then place them in „forest Rooms“ as I call it, because the forest is all over the world, and is a place where we play, take a nice walk to clear our minds and souls. But it can also be a scary place when it’s dark, and kids books, movies and etc also „taught“ us that a forest is a scary place at night. Then again, it’s also a place where you can hide, find food, make a shelter, build a fire and survive. So for me, it’s a safe place, and I believe that we all have a relation to nature or a local forest nearby.
What do you want to convey to the viewer with your works?
In all my solo exhibitions, with themes like Sixteen destinies (homeless) Consumer slaves (Chinese fabric workers) Strangers (refugees in Denmark) LOSE (about losing yourself in life) Shelter (about running away from life) GOOD LUCK (homeless kids in India) DARKNESS (living in the dark) LIVING IN A BOX (about being different) was places that I visited my self to experience the place and the people myself, or stories I heard about, and wanted to convey the story to other people, to make them think about their own life, and compare, maybe they can see them self in one of my paintings, or feel lucky that they can’t. Over the coure of the last 15 years, several people have reacted to my works; have either written me or told me face to face, telling me that they suddenly saw themselves in my paintings or could relate their own experiences to my art. These experiences convinced me that I am doing the right thing with my art.
What technique do you use?
I have used almost every technic in my works, from Acrylic, Oil, spray, collage, sewing, oilbars, pencil and more, for the last 17 years, I have been known for the thick layers of oil paint, with structure and almost like a 3D effect, the last year time I have changed my material, fom oil on painted canvas, to Pigments and binder with a little bit of oil paint on raw canvas, so from the thick “ shiny“ oil paintings, to flat, dry paintings. A big change I have been thinking about for 5 years, but I am very happy about the new change, and lucky for me, my collectors and Galleries like it too.
When were you last in Vienna? What do you know about the city?
The last time I was in Vienna was about 4 years ago, it was a short visit, combined with a skiing vacation, I have gone skiing in Austria for 40 years – my first visit was with my parents when I was a kid, where my Mothers brother who lived as a fire worker in Vienna was married to a woman from Vienna. I know that Vienna is the capital of Austria, it goes all the way back to the 13 hundred century, it’s a large cultural city, with Music, theatre and art, and that it’s famous for its architecture. I would love to come back soon, to show my art.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working on a new series of works where people are in water (standing, floating, hanging etc) water – just like the woods – has a great meaning for us, from our birth, and the way we travel, and how fragile we also are around water. Its for a solo show in Copenhagen at Galleri Benoni in April 2022, and a group show in Hamburg and Sydney.
René Holm – www.reneholm.dk