Holly Walton is an accomplished painter and jewellery maker who has a disability. As a resident artist for QArt, a program that nurtures talented artists within the disability community in Victoria, Holly has had the opportunity to develop her unique style, which has attracted interest and acclaim in the local art world.
Having recently launched her latest series of jewellery, watercolours and festive card designs, we spoke to Holly about her artistic journey.
What do you enjoy most about creating your art?
"Painting and drawing keeps you busy. Since growing up in the country, art just seems to run in the family. I love the colours and especially painting Australian nature and wildlife. I always did love the Australian countryside, animals, blue wrens and other birds."
What does it mean to you, to have the opportunity to produce and sell your creations through QArt?
"I really enjoy that other people want to buy my art and having a space to create them is nice. It’s really nice to know someone wanted to take something I created home with them. I also enjoy entering art competitions. I think everyone likes to win things, it’s a fun way to get your art out there."
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
"It’s been a hard year with the pandemic. I’ve spent too much time looking at the cracks in the walls at home and not able to work. You can have an artist slump sometimes, but luckily it’s been getting better lately. Sometimes it takes ages to get over a block, but it just has to come naturally."
Are there any artists you see as role models who have helped you develop your unique style?
"I like the earlier artists like Claude Monet, Alphonse Mucha, Auguste Renoir – their use of colour and pattern work. Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ series is inspiring."
How did you start out?
"There’s not much to do in the country. I’ve been painting since primary school. My Dad used to give me some tips. I entered and won a few competitions during school."
Tell us about winning the City of Boroondara Party Art Prize for your drawing “Lady Sings the Blues” in 2015.
"It was my first big win. It was super exciting to win some money for your artwork. I think I got the blue theme right for that competition. “Team with the theme” they say, it helps. I’ve since been nominated for other competitions as well and always looking for more."
What inspired your floral Christmas card design?
"I tried to keep it in Australian theme and colours and was looking for something new and different. An Australian floral Christmas is a design that’s more me than traditional Christmas cards. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I like to get it right."
How you can support QArt
"QArt gives talented artists with disability the opportunity to develop their artistic talents in a fun and supported environment. Each year the QArt Studio artists look forward to creating the new Christmas card range. Holly, and other artists have created both print and digital Christmas cards to purchase. You can see the full range on their website."