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Bryan Holland

Despite an aversion to cold, Bryan Holland resides year round in Minnesota, where he creates layered oil paintings that are often a mix of collage and other experimentation. His work incorporates realistic painting techniques fused with design elements such as text, patterns, and decorative motifs, which serve to create tension both visually and thematically.

Holland holds a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of South Dakota, and Bachelor of Arts in art from USF/Augustana College, as well as a degree in graphic design from Alexandria Technical and Community College. His varied experience has helped shape his unique aesthetic.

In addition to being an artist, Bryan has also worked as a graphic artist, a college professor, and gallery owner. Most recently, Bryan founded and organized an annual studio crawl event in his home town, and is on the board of a local artist alliance. His paintings have been featured in numerous exhibitions, including solo shows and national juried presentations. Publications include Spectrum Fantastic Art, Hi-Fructose (online), Juxtapoz (online), and New American Paintings.

His work is held in both national and international private collections.


Birds and animals have always fascinated me, and are often the focus of my paintings. My approach varies, at times beginning with inspiration from a photo I’ve taken at a zoo, museum or my backyard. Other times I begin with a sketch or computer mockup. Either way, the subject is rendered in a realistic manner, with other elements introduced that either work to contradict the realism or blur the boundaries between the two.

What interests me is creating a push and pull between a traditional, realistic painting style and a more modern approach that incorporates flat elements, such as decorative motifs, text, or patterns. I’m intrigued how these two seemingly opposite aesthetics work together to form a whole, like the idea of Yin and Yang, where contradictions both contrast and complement each other.

Frequently, my process is also one of contradictions. Working with a variety of different techniques, from more traditional painting processes using oils, to more modern techniques such as collage and image transfer, I’m captivated by the synergy of a realistically rendered subject with a pattern or 2D element. This combination of contrasting styles and techniques challenges the viewer’s ideas of illusion created through realistic techniques and the reality of the flat surface.

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