What’s in a Name

One of the things I have struggled with over the past few years is coming up with a good, solid, consistent way to represent myself – most notably, what should I use as my artist name? My legal name(s) aren’t really much to write home about, or particularly memorable or striking, not to mention not any more personally identifying than their intrinsic value. I want something that suits me, that feels right when I say it, when I see it written, that I can adapt (as I do with all nicknames and monikers, and words in general) but still always return to. It has to describe or at least have the feel, the temperament, the mood of me and thus, my art (which is very much an extension of myself in that almost all of it is self initiated and influenced and driven only by my impulses and interests).

For a long time I have played with variations on them (from Holly I got Hollibel, which I used for a bit, but it just doesn’t seem quite right. Not the right tone. Too light perhaps?) and developed initials, signatures, all sorts of things but nothing sticks or feels like…”aha this is it”. Then I experimented with “Hollow” (Holly + W from one last name) or Holloh (said the same, but also a palindrome) but the word itself just wasn’t a proper fit for always. So for now I’ve got Holly Zezu, a shortening of my legal name, which is at least functional in that it won’t go obsolete, is unique enough, and mildly fun while still identifying and accurate. But the endeavor will persist, I’m sure, until I find something that really fits, something that can embody and represent my creative talents and who I am and can be as an artist, without the failings and/or shortcomings of the rest of my identity necessarily included.

Gold Dragons

In addition to painting my own work, I also like to customize thing like figures, miniatures, storage containers, etc. The dragon figure above is a custom-painted huge gold dragon Dungeons and Dragons miniature, from the tabletop game. I first posted this on my Behance site (LINK: https://www.behance.net/midnightblack8881709 ) with the following description:

“Repaint of the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures Tabletop game figure, the Huge Gold Dragon. 2012. Personal project – I used to play D&D minis, and this piece was a frequent staple of my warband. The original/as-is painting of the piece, out-of-the-box did not do the creature justice, and was shabby, bland, and imprecise.”

So…that’s another thing I do. I’ve had a reasonable amount of experience painting various figurines, minis, warhammer 40k army pieces, boxes, photo frames, etc. Requires a small brush, a steady hand, a bright light, and a tolerance to going cross-eyed every now and again.

Back in high school, I painted a Gold Dragon on my D&D binder:

Fantasy and role playing games and books and whatnot have been a good source of inspiration and wonder-generation. I especially love the Monster Manuals with all the different beasts and creatures and their descriptions, stories, history, traits, etc. and illustrations.

My Pinterest

There is an exception to every rule, and Pinterest is mine in terms of regularity and frequency: I spend way too much of my time looking at images (art, reference, inspiration, really anything…) and systematically cataloging them for my future reference (and my o.c.d) so Pinterest has come quite naturally to me. And spared my poor hard drive from further overabundance of saved galleries. I’ve been trying to limit saving to the images I really love (it’ll still be in the thousands) and using Pins and boards instead to store and sort my compulsive image rifling.

LINK: https://www.pinterest.com/hollibear8/

I’ve managed to attract over 1,000 followers on Pinterest (awww yeaa) just by doing my image thing (in other words, not trying to gain followers or any such, just using the site almost purely for my own personal image obsessions). So if you want to get an idea of even a partial scope of my ranging interests and fancies, that’s a good place to start. I’ve got almost 40 thousand pins over 135 boards, organized based on genre (horror, dark, weird art, fantasy, illustration, design, etc), reference (photos, techniques, clothing, weapons, digital assets, etc), interest (stuffed animals, books, toys, creatures), life-use (lifehacks, exercise and health etc), and boards for my own art and those of my favorite artists. There’s also one called “My Brand of Odd” which has pins that I feel best resonate with who and how I am, things I like or am likely to appreciate or create myself, and general inclinations.

Over time, I intend to maybe sort through and caption things myself (I often just…rapidly process and sort and repin without adding or changing the text) and make sure things are referenced and credited correctly, working links, not duplicates, fix mis-pins, etc and generally make things neater. I also have a folder of things to pin (which I can then delete from my hard-drive) and I’d like to make sure my personal image collection is fully represented on there as well….it’ll be a constant working battle with the sheer number of images but if it’s going to be my escapey world habit and mind calming vice, I might as well let others benefit from the collection as well!

“Madness”

An actual, finished artwork of mine! Linked from my Behance site ( https://www.behance.net/gallery/12342023/Madness ), I’m pretty sure this started as a sketch on a notecard (like the kind you make flashcards with in school). It’s a good example of my fondness for creatures, dark and feral/crazed emotion, and my frequent use of reds and golden yellows.

Latest Work

So here is the most recent art thing I have worked on (on other words, the last artistic endeavor of mine I have touched or made progress on…I typically have…a million things working at once). It’s pencil, ink, marker, colored pencil in one of my larger sketchbooks. As with most of my work, finishing is harder for me than starting, and requires more applied intent, design-mindedness, and thought than the typical beginnings of works that are much more…flowing and random, spurred by emotion and motion (of my hand making the lines and that) and feel and experiment. And then it sort of takes form or starts to shape into something and builds.

It doesn’t have a title or anything yet, and I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but here it is, out into the world to see where it goes or what it might become (just like how it was born…d’aww).

This is atypical of me in that I usually try to start from the beginning with my work, or add it all at once and be all thorough and whatnot, posting to all the various sites I have some sort of presence on (DeviantArt, Behance, Facebook, etc.) but for now I will be happy with my post here happening and the future potential of links and plan to post the final version to those sites. It makes me anxious to think that someone might see something I’ve made and not be able to find a nice coherent and complete site to peruse, but I’ll get there. Maybe I should make a watermark for my images next?