The CABAL Project: ARTIST of the Month.
Hollie Anderson is a Genius of Ritual Art. Her work has this intoxicating realness that draws you into each piece, with each Figure telling its own journey and embodying its true purpose.
The first piece is one of the Artists favourites; “homage to souls lost”. This piece speaks of a sigh of sorrow; it has an appearance of being bound in its longing for what has been lost, and you can feel the raw emotions when viewing the piece, with each small detail adding to its story.
The next two Pieces are what I see as an incubation of Hollies’ ideas; her charcoals are reminiscent of Ultrasounds, the viewings of the beginnings of life, birth and the forming of the Figurative pieces. “I always talk to my pieces; I’m always excited when they talk back. Except when they have attitude problems” beautifully sums up a deep insight into Hollies mind, and ideas present in her illustration.
The Red String of Fate, the Four Little Folk , and the Hokō style figure, bearing the Norse rune sigil Aegishjalmur on its chest, are just a few amongst many pieces that Hollie has formed over her four years of research, carving out a unique style that stands out as genius.
"I first began making dolls and figures when all of my own were lost during a fire. I remember mourning more than just the items themselves; I felt the loss of the stories and cultures I had created whilst playing with them, and their friendship. As I grew older I never stopped playing and imagining, which grew into a love of comics and graphic novels. I spent my early art education in Bristol creating characters which lived inside pages and could be spoken to and played with this way. When I came to study my degree in Contemporary Applied Arts at Hereford College of Arts I played with the idea of translating comics into textiles, but I found that it was not the comics I wanted to create, but the living beings I nurtured inside of them. My own longing for companionship in these imagined worlds and the intensity of my belief in their reality on some plane caused me to research the history of our relationship with figures.
The dolls I have created since are the accumulation of this research, including my dissertation, into the use of dolls and figures in the religious and superstitious history of cultures spanning worldwide, from Finland to Osaka.
After finding that the same symbols and idioms occur repeatedly through almost every belief system I developed a visual language of my own, with a little help from Carl Jung and his theories on psychological archetypes, which incorporates these themes in the hope that the figures can speak to everybody they meet. It is made of the world’s language, the little niggles that humanity has caught on to and created superstitions around for all of time.
Each figure does their own job, be it an encouragement for those fighting a tough battle, or a smile for those who are in desperate need of one, or a moral compass for those who get lost all too often. I use symbols, herbs, colours and materials which are imbued with multi-cultural history and intent, such as the peacock feather - a symbol of perseverance and prosperity to the Buddhists, as the peacock is seen to eat only a diet of poisonous plants and yet remains beautiful, and also a symbol of protection in Mediterranean cultures because of its resemblance to the Evil Eye.
Their body shapes and arms and legs derived from antlers. Freud said that to dream of antlers means that you feel someone is in total spiritual or physical control over you. After researching the superstitions around dolls, especially in Japanese Shinto, where a doll is thought to be the perfect temporary home for a spirit god (or Kami) this is exactly how I believe it must feel to be one of these figures. So powerful, yet also so completely vulnerable, relying completely on the love of strangers to survive. I liken it with the feeling of seeing a lost child’s toy on the ground and knowing that something so truly loved is now completely alone. I believe that figures and dolls are given power by the relationships we foster with them.”