Lemoore Artist Natasha Holland
Apr 27, 2016 03:35PM
By Ronda Alvey
Places Like Guam
By Jordan Venema
Photos : Amber Smith
Sometimes, if you want to make things happen, want to pursue your dreams, want to start that small business, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. And sometimes, taking those steps will lead to new experiences and education, maybe even to new places, exciting places, exotic places – places like Guam.
Natasha Holland grew up in Indiana, and though Guam couldn’t be any more different from the landlocked Hoosier State, she had traveled enough that she figured she could handle it. “It’s so far away, and it’s such a small island,” she says. “You literally do feel pretty isolated at times, but it’s gorgeous – absolutely gorgeous.”
Holland’s husband was stationed in Guam, so the couple moved from the Windy City, Chicago, to spend the next three years on the small island. For Holland, a self-professed city girl, the move to Guam “was a bit of culture shock at times,” but, she adds, “it was also a blessing in disguise.”
During the five years she had lived in Chicago, Holland worked in design for different companies. In Indiana, she had attended All State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in architecture and design, but while in Guam she found little demand for design and architecture.
There was some irony in this revelation since Holland, a painter who grew up loving the finer arts, opted to study architecture because she believed it would ensure more stability.
Not in Guam.
“I tried to find a lot of jobs, but there was nothing within the facet of my career,” she says. “So I decided to start my own business.”
Even before she had moved to Guam, Holland had realized that though architecture was perhaps the smarter move, it wasn’t the right move for her. “By my junior year, I knew this wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.”
So while on a remote island, where her degree was rendered pretty much useless, she turned her focus to the finer arts, a passion she’d had since she was a child.
“I’ve always – as a child – really enjoyed art,” says Holland. It was that love for light, space, buildings and landscape that probably lured her to architecture in the first place, but she also recognizes for herself, “I was more inspired by mood and feelings than an image… Architecture is definitely still a part of my art, but it was more of a stepping stone.”
While in Guam, Holland’s work took what she calls an abstract turn, drawing on influences of painters like Monet and the Impressionism movement. Being surrounded by sweeping beaches and beautiful landscapes probably didn’t hurt, but she also found that she began painting places that represented a story, or represented home.
Her “State Your Love” collection actually grew out of a kind of homesickness. “Yeah, that’s one of my latest collections,” says Holland, who started it “mainly because we were new everywhere… it makes you realize that each place you live shapes you and your family, and it becomes a part of who you are.” For $26, Holland paints an 8x10-inch watercolor painting of a state, in the color of your choice, with the option of marking a location with a small heart.
Since she and her husband moved to Lemoore last year, Holland has built upon her business, expanding her online presence and collection, and plans to begin offering painting classes to adults – something she did for both adults and children while living in Guam.
“I’ve also done a lot of derivative work,” says Holland, “focusing more on landscapes, buildings or houses.” Drawing perhaps on her architectural experience, Holland offers 20x24-inch paintings rendered from photographs. “I still draw buildings, and do a lot of paintings of people’s houses as wedding gifts.”
Basically, since Holland has moved from Guam to Lemoore, she’s swapped inspirations – beaches for mountains. And those inspirations, she says, “the mountains, and the nature around here as well, they help me want to broaden my mediums, and the materials that I use.”
She may not be isolated any longer, but that isn’t stopping Holland from creating more art. She’s branching into acrylics, more abstract pieces. “Pretty much all my abstract pieces, on the larger scale (the gallery canvas), is mostly acrylic,” says Holland.
She particularly enjoys acrylic because “you can play around with so many different shades, mixtures and blends.” And she finds inspiration in colors, she says. “But that’s the great thing about art. You can get inspired by anything.” Especially in a new city, new state, where she is constantly discovering new inspirations that she translates into works of art. •
Natasha Holland Studio