Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We witnessed Lonnie Holley's genius firsthand this weekend

Method to the madness

Posted by Samantha Connors on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Found object artist's Halsey exhibition "Something to Take My Place" is on view until Oct. 10, but that doesn't mean the artist is laying back admiring his work. Instead, Holley stopped by the Marion Square Farmers Market this weekend and we got a look at the man behind the work.

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Holley never seemed to stop moving or speaking, his brain constantly working and re-imagining ideas. The stand at the farmers market was crowded with people interested in watching the charismatic artist do his work, but it was mostly children who were brave enough to try their hand at his area of expertise.

It was clear from Holley’s expression how much he loved connecting with an audience, especially the kids, as he continually encouraged them to create art with mundane materials like plastic wrap, wires, hangers, blocks of wood, and door hinges. “Everything you need, you already have. It’s in your brain,” he told the children and onlookers. “Look at this! It’s beautiful!” he added snatching up a handful of yellow string to dispense to the young sculptors.

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All around the tent, people were captivated by him. Clad in a brightly patterned shirt, an armload of bracelets, and a headband decorated with fabrics and flowers, Holley’s appearance was almost larger than life as he. Sporadic sounds of a xylophone drifted from a nearby tent to provide an audible complement to his eccentric appearance and animated demeanor. He glided around the tables of the tent encouraging people to “step right up and create."

A crowd of roughly 20 people stood watching Holley in action as dark clouds swarmed overhead and a steady drizzle fell. No one scrambled for cover or crammed under Holley’s activity tent for protection — they were all too engaged in discovering this artist’s creative process.

“Collaboration, participation,” he declared, “not just in art, but all aspects of our lives.”

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