My name is Hollis Hildebrand-Mills. My mother named me Hollis because she said it was euphonious (her word) with Hildebrand. I wanted to keep these two names together. When I married my husband, I decided to hyphenate. I am the only Hollis Hildebrand-Mills in the world. The search engines and advertisers love it.
I am an artist, working mostly in collage or pieced-together type formats. I made a movie, I paint and most recently I posted 100 collages, one a day here on WordPress, on my blog. This was taken from an installation I put together for a solo show in New York City earlier last year. I discovered that the blog world was full of self-disclosure and I started to ramble along with each piece I posted. A write up of my online exhibition appeared in The Atlanta Journal/Constitution.
I live with my husband and my daughter who is soon going to college in a few months. I continue to blog. I also am working on another solo show for 2016, also in Chelsea, New York City. I have decided to show paintings for this exhibition. I always try something different, believing that true art is created out of the ether. I let the Universe guide me along.
I have quite a background, however, in the structured learning of doing art. I believe in this strongly. Although many people believe that art can be self-taught, I am not one of them. I have a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design. And between pursuing a second degree at The Atlanta College of Art for four years, now known as SCAD, I worked extensively on post graduate studies in painting and drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.
In order to support myself, which I did for many years, before I met my husband, I worked at TV Guide Magazine, various printing companies and art studios. I also was employed for thirteen years at an advertising agency in Atlanta. At the agency, where I worked the longest, I worked with some very interesting, creative people and eventually it was my privilege to work on the Orion Pictures Account. For Orion, I did their publicity in three major metropolitan areas and worked with the movie stars affiliated with the movies being released at the time. Both my assignments as an art director and my job as a publicist have influenced my fine art career, in the subject matter of my artwork and in the manner by which my artwork is done.
I was born in Roanoke, Virginia and moved to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania when I was eight years old. We moved again when I was fifteen to Stamford, Connecticut when my father commuted every day to New York City.
Atlanta is my home now. I like the South. The air is soft here. And the people are kind. They may not always mean it, but it is a more pleasant way to live. I live with a forest behind our house. Our house is on a slope, so in the winter, you can see the floor of the woods from the windows. The winter is now my favorite time of year because of that image.
One more thing, I catalogue my memories by what I was wearing at the time.
Here are my answers to Jill’s questions.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you like to meet?
I would like to meet The Virgin Mary. I am not Catholic, or particularly religious, but I am spiritual and I do believe she was a divine person. It also helps that I took four years of Latin in High School!
I would like her “take” on how things were at that time. And if miracles were being performed, if people were surprised when they happened.
Life has changed so much during the short time I have been in the world. From the “Your call is important to us.” recorded message to “You can look it up online.” (Yes, I could do that, but you are here now.) Changes in our culture have evolved so quickly, what must it have been like in Mary’s time?
Maybe during Mary’s lifetime, miracles, kindness, music and love were in the air. Sort of like the 1960s where we thought anything was possible. A movie is being made about a 60s artist, Joni Mitchell, starring Taylor Swift. Will they get it right? Or will it be like “Ben Hur”, Mary’s time. Where it could never have been like that. But how do we know?
What celebrity do you get mistaken for?
One time, in between jobs, when I was a pet sitter, I was standing in my client’s greenhouse and she, an older, more settled woman, handed me a lemon, grown from her lemon tree there. It was the middle of winter and very dark outside. I was wearing a white Laura Ashley blouse and bright yellow pants. She said to me, “You know, you remind me of Blythey! When she and I were young! She was my roommate in college!” I don’t see my resemblance to Blythe Danner. Her hair is nice and thick and she seems to move so confidently, but others see it. She, by the way, is Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I am a risk taker. Therefore, there is no to-do “bucket list.” Now traveling to a particular place is different. I would like to go to Machu Picchu, Peru. I recently got a Facebook message from Machu Picchu. The person was outraged because there was bad internet service there. Mulder, from the cult TV show, “The X Files” would find plenty of waves flying around up there, including UFO service, which I would find fascinating!
What do you miss most about being a kid?
I miss long summer afternoons playing with my friends, in our neighbor’s sassafras treehouse. The leaves looked like mittens and we sewed doll clothes. We made our dolls sleep outside overnight under a bush in our handmade sleeping bags. We worried all night about them on their campout.
I also miss ice skating on Crum Creek in Swarthmore or a pond when we moved to New England. The pond was clear and we could see gold fish swimming under the ice below. The ice was smooth. So that an outstretched jacket would cause the wind to propel us forward. Like a sail pulling our skates along, without having to move our feet.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Quit smoking. Hands down.
After death, if you were to come to life as an animal, which would you choose?
Probably as one of my pets. I think of all my pets as having “personalities.” I don’t think of them as being a dog or a cat or a bird. For instance, when Judy Garland sings “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, Bloobie, one of our parakeets, sings too. Does Bloobie know she is blue? Most definitely.
If you could visit any place in the entire world, where would it be?
I mentioned Machu Picchu. I would like to see a UFO. From a distance.
If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
I would have turned around and given the baby sitter the day off. As I was leaving our house, I saw through the glass, the sitter hoist our six month old baby up in the air and our daughter was laughing.
I am very driven, and my art had to be done. Also, the time during each baby stage seemed to last. Time was slower then. I thought those days would be around forever.
What do you think the greatest invention has been?
The washing machine. I would hate to be rubbing our clothes on the rocks in the muddy stream out back right now. I like the purr and beep of our washing machine.
Is there anything about the opposite sex you just don’t understand or comprehend?
I see men as being linear. I am probably more of a multilateral thinker than most women, although we women all tend to be able to do many tasks at one time. It spills over onto our thinking, as well. When I see a car (and I do not know the sex of the driver), I can guess by the way the person drives. Men definitely can only do one thing at a time. Therefore my recent car accident took place because the man must have been on the phone. A woman would not have broadsided a car directly in front of her, even if she was on the phone, eating a burger and smoking a cigarette.
Thanks for taking the spotlight, Hollis! I too miss those long summer afternoons playing with friends and not a care in the world. Up next week is Jenny Pellett.