John Holly


"My art represents me, what comes out of me, music, mythology, religion, philosophy what is in my soul. What is around me that influences me, cats, women, angels, whatever is within, nothing is ever copied."

Thus John Holly describes his painting. Holly is a "naïve artist" who is anything but naïve about the arts. He was born in Baltimore in 1956. Music and the arts fill his life. His mother was a pianist, and both grandmothers were artists -- one a sculptor the other a painter. However, his talent was discovered when his mother found a closet full of erotic drawings he had done since his teenage years. A couple of art instructors were arranged by his mother but they "never changed the way I did my art" says John. "At first they tried but came to recognize the way I am, the way I think, the way I paint."

So John remains essentially a self-taught artist, a raw talent whose exceptionally colorful work explores his fantasies and expresses the joy he finds in his subjects, be they ordinary objects, well known music, or creations of his imagination. While he may be an innocent, he is extraordinarily knowledgeable of the subjects that matter to him, especially music. John sings in a choir and has been composing stories and poetry since age eight. He is well versed in the opera and remembers a trip to New York at age 16 when he was greatly affected by seeing Mozart's "The Magic Flute" in which Marc Chagall designed the sets.

For twenty years John has worked as a groundskeeper at the local hospital and is fascinated that people are now interested in his painting. Since 1995 he has been showing his work with an artists' cooperative and has been exhibited in other area galleries. Now he is being exposed to a broader audience who will share his gifts. "Buy my art and you buy a part of me," John says. Having a part of this exceptional young artist is a very nice thing indeed.