Jim Holland: Tripping the Light Fantastic

Cape Cod Life  /  August 2023 /

Writer: Kelly Cloonan

Sailboat And Sandbars • 36" x 36" A self-taught artist celebrates the joy found in solitude and nature. Highland Light • 36" x 36" Jim Holland’s road trips to the Cape in the 70s were both spontaneous and fleeting; their influence on his work, though, have been anything but. Ever since starting with oil painting thirty years ago, Holland has been primarily inspired by Cape Cod’s architecture, harbors and beaches. As a kid growing up in Schenectady, New York, Holland was the one in his family of six children that was always holding a paintbrush, camera or art history book. When he was in fourth grade, he drew mock advertisements for a car he created, and in high school, he started playing around with a camera and designed yearbook covers. It was only natural that he’d eventually fall into an art role; it just took him some time to figure out exactly where his creative interests would take him. While earning a graphic design degree in college in the 70s, Holland started to experiment with painting, and was especially drawn to depicting coastal landscapes after visiting the Cape on two separate camping trips to Shawme Crowell State Forest. He never focused on painting too intensely however, and instead, worked at an advertising agency in Albany for 13 years post graduation. Over the years working at the agency, he was promoted to creative director and worked on ad campaigns and commercials. He painted a bit on the side, using acrylics and watercolors, selling some of his pieces to the Spectrum Gallery in Brewster and others at an art fair in Schenectady. By 1995, he was divorced, his ad agency had gone out of business, and he needed a fresh start. What better place to go than the Cape, the place he’d…

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Kelly Cloonan