Artist uses everyday objects to create her unique pieces

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 19:00

Let your imagination take flight. Artist, Holly Goozen did this twelve years ago and hasn’t stopped since. After starting a family, Holly began to use her creativity on furniture pieces she found at garage sales. She stripped the furniture down and decorated the pieces with bold colored paint and papers. Her creations included abstract designs and images of nature.

“Friends and relatives liked the finished furniture so much they insisted I take them to a gallery,” Holly said. She took five furniture items to a local Eagle River gallery and they sold right away.

This positive response led her to put her ideas on boards then on canvases using paper collage or glass mosaics. Holly is a self-taught artist in paper collage. She had only one class at Artworks in Eagle River in mosaics. Does she like one medium over the other? “I like them equally,” she said. “Glass is bold, contemporary and shiny but paper allows you to add more detail and depth.” Her pieces range from ravens, poppies, birds to flowers and bears.

Holly’s imagination soared when she was asked to be part of Anchorage’s Salmon on Parade. She named the taxidermy mold of a salmon she decorated, ‘Belle of the Yukon.’

“I painted her with metallic paint, made her clothes with wire and cloth,” she said. The end result was a whimsical looking salmon dressed in a red Can Can dress and fishnet stockings. ‘Belle of the Yukon’ can be seen online if you Google it.

Holly’s favorite project was working on a console table that had a set of three inlaid wood panels on top. Holly used the three sections to form a triptych piece of art. The triptych arises from early Christian art and was the standard for alter paintings from the Middle Ages and onward. Her triptych art created a Grumman Goose airplane landing in a lake.

“I painted one panel with a pontoon and wing, the second panel with the fuselage and the third panel with the other pontoon and wing,” Holly said. “I did this as a tribute to my deceased father who was a pilot. A pilot from Chicago ended up buying it.”

Holly is proud of the art she has done to personalize each room in her house. As I walked into her home and looked through the different rooms a kaleidoscope of colors expressed in her pieces greeted me. What drew my eye first were two items hanging on the walls. They were a painted and papered multi-colored dragonfly with big blue glass eyes and a welcome sign made of glass, paper, and paint topped with twigs.

“I like to do a twist on nature and enjoy doing things out of scale I don’t like to follow the rules,“ Holly said.

I floated through Holly’s daughter’s bedroom as Holly pointed out the clouds she painted on the ceiling. Holly put sheet metal with rivets on her son’s wall, and her bathroom walls were painted a watery blue accompanied by blue tile that was accented with a line of smooth stones.

I could tell she likes to repurpose things. For instance, she took caribou antler horns and made them into a chandelier; made use of sheep horns as tiebacks for her curtains; and spray painted old garage sale frames gold to use them to surround pendulum clocks set against argyle paper on her living room wall. Several pieces of her artwork have a swirl design to convey energy. Her office is immaculate and surrounded by decoupages with positive sayings. One of her favorite sayings is, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Holly ‘s dream?

“To work on bigger pieces.”

Her dream came true when Matt Tomter, owner of the Eagle River Ale House, asked if she could paint a twenty foot mural of a wine bar scene reflecting Eagle River locals having a good time at the Ale House’s new wine bar. I told him, “I’ve never done something that big but I’ll try it.”

She spent many hours in her garage, where she usually works, to paint the mural. “I’d like to do more interior design for business’s and people’s homes,” Holly said.

“More than anything I hope my work brings joy to people as it does to me.”

A good app for Mosaic fun is called Photo Mosaica


Elisa Fleener is a freelance columnist from Eagle River. Write her at [email protected].

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