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About Me

My artwork is emotionally driven and often inspired by music, conversation and everyday observances.  With an intentional obscurity, viewers experiences each piece for themselves and respond based on their emotions rather than a preconceived idea or what they’re expected to see.  I draw from what speaks to me and although I may have a basic idea of what I envision on my canvas, I often allow the first strokes of my brush or mark with my charcoal to take me on an unintentional or unexpected journey.

That was the short version.  If you’re curious about the nitty-gritty…read on….

Often in life, at some point, we meet a fork in the road.  That is the simplest way I can describe my journey.  Being a professional artist and creative wasn’t the path I selected when I came across my fork many years ago.  Rather, it has become my “do over” career, built on a foundation of life experience

As a young person, I often found it difficult to express myself verbally.  Being slightly dyslexic made it harder for me to express ideas and thoughts clearly until I discovered that I could sketch them faster and more clearly than trying to explain them verbally.  My mother was most excited by this…she would tell me that I was the only person she knew that could take a 2 minute story and turn it into 20 (hence the short and long versions of my ‘bio’).  As a creative, I’m compelled to verbally ‘paint’ a visual and it would be unkind of my not to touch upon every little detail.  My mother knew that if I were to sketch out what I was trying to say, I’d be quietly doing so and she’d have the ‘story’ in half the time.

In college, I found myself sketching concepts and ideas to clarify my own understanding of them.  Although I was accepted out of high-school to MassArt and Butera School of Art in Boston, I didn’t have the resources or confidence to do so.

As life would have it, I took a different path, one that presented a more conventional, yet still interesting career in the hospitality industry.  I had the great fortune to travel and experience…a lot.  After a 20+ year career in hospitality with a desire to lean more toward my creative side, I opened my first business designing and planning corporate events.  As the economy began to shift in a downward trajectory, I decided I wanted to do something less volatile and more creative combining my hospitality and creative background.  So…I went back to school to earn a BS in Interior Design.  Since 2008, I’ve operated my interior design company, specializing in hospitality interior.  One evening over a glass of wine and some nibbles in my studio with a couple of my furniture venders, I shared a sketch with them.  The sketch was rough and simply told a story of something I saw driving that I just ‘had to get out of my head’, so I did a quick sketch on my iPad. They loved it.  These two women, also artists in their own right, are responsible for me to put my toes back in the artistic waters…so to speak.  Pure passion for creating soon took over. From there I found myself painting more often, larger canvases and quite a bit bolder.  Within a few months, I was showing at a local gallery ‘art walk’ and in less than a year…I became a resident artist at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale where I practiced and developed my 'style' for the past 5 years.  

In November 2021, life through us another another adventure and after living in Florida for over 30 years, my husband and I moved to Milwaukee, WI. I took this as an opportunity to pivot, putting more focus on creating art with a secondary focus on interior design and opened Holly Harris Studios, LLC - offering my original art and interior design service…and here we are!

So…why did I pursue a creative career [albeit a long pursuit]?  The reason is stated on my studio walls…”no one is the boss of me…my rules for creating art…well…there are none…make your own and embrace the good ones!”

I hope you enjoy my work...


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