I grew up in a construction based family and spent a number of weekends and summers working on job sites installing HVAC duct work. During this time I started playing bass and studied architecture in a technical high school. I eventually went to college for it but then changed my courses because I was terrible at math, I switched to studying art. It was around this time I started becoming extremely obsessed with music . I got into a college radio show, started playing in bands, and hosted open mic nights. It was my senior year, while doing my thesis on Chinese landscape painting, that I started using music in art. Notably, using my bass amp to move things around a canvas which made for a great mess and a neat live show, but I kept evolving from there.
I finished with a B.A. in art and stayed with music re-attending school in Boston to get a degree in audio production and recording. I joined a new band that spent the next five years playing around the Northeast. During this time, I was drawing a fair amount and kept tweaking my style. It wasn't until I neared the end of those five years that I really became interested in drawing and painting.
I eventually left the band and moved to New Orleans where I decided to focus on my art instead of music; I've never regretted it since. I've been having a blast drawing sound and music and selling my work in New Orleans at the French Market and now the Frenchmen Art Market. I'm proud to say I am currently in my fourth year of that now.
Tony Hollums is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Marigny neighborhood.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
That's quite difficult.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
The Music, always the music. I live pretty close to Frenchmen Street so I always have enough.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
First an idea followed by planning and tweaking. I almost never start a piece until I have a plan in place and I have books of plans. Other then that my ritual is coffee.....lots of coffee.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Anything I'm interested in really - sound, music, movement, structure, systems. Sound and music are pretty easy to explain I love the physical force of sound, but of course the artistic composition of it. Music and art both paint the same way, they just use different senses. But composition, mood, tone, color, are all the same.
Prior to this I was working in audio engineering and before that architecture, and I'm also a pretty decent comic book superhero fan and Sci-fi lover. So I think all of that finds ways to infuse itself into the art.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Kandinsky, he's one of my favorites, as well Max Beckmann. Also a number of musicians ranging from Philip Glass to Trent Reznor to Marcus Miller. I also spent a while studying Chinese landscape painting.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Hard to point to a specific song I love so many, but there is one quote I try to use as a guide.
"Music is the space between the notes. It’s not the notes you play; it’s the notes you don’t play."- Miles Davis.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Most likely playing a video game (a guilty pleasure of mine)
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Tuesday? Tuesdays are peaceful.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
My favorite X-men/Marvel character is Night Crawler....(not so much the movie version)
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Where You Can Find My Work
Works listed online may be available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
Frenchmen Art Market