Mermaid Spotlight: HOLLY FAE
Why do you draw mermaids?
I have had a love of mermaids for as long as I can remember. Probably because I saw splash at a very young age! I drew mermaids all the time, and then when Disney's The Little Mermaid came out, I think that fueled a full-on obsession. I was an avid reader of fantasy and fairytales as a kid, and being that I lived near the ocean, something just seemed so magical to me about living and breathing in an underwater world. I suppose this is why I love the idea of mermaids, but then to draw them is something I love deeply because there is no gravity underwater and I can create the flowing forms of body, fins, and hair without any limitations. I can focus on the lines and shape that I want to create without needing to adhere to the physics of life on land. Also, I love that there is so much variety when it comes to designing mermaids. Their tails, fins, and accessories can be inspired by any type of fish or sea-creature! The imagination can run wild!
What mediums do you use and why?
I am a curious explorer when it comes to art mediums, and I would gladly buy out the whole art supply store to be able to try everything! I have dabbled in so many mediums, but I tend to generally stick to a combination of Watercolor, Pencil, Ink, Colored Pencil, and Digital Painting. When I have time I also love to use Acrylic.
I love using watercolor because it can have an unpredictable quality and create beautiful fractal textures, or it can offer refined control, depending how you use it. The transparency and ability to layer colors is also something I love to utilize in my style. Pencil is just the medium that I've always loved, as there was always a pencil handy when I was growing up. No matter where I was, I could make art at any moment, and that still holds true today! Digital painting is a great tool that let's me layer my traditional art and then experiment to my heart's content with layers and layers of painting! It's very freeing to be able to try anything without worrying about altering a piece that I like!
Who is your favorite mermaid on instagram?
This is a VERY difficult question! I follow and communicate with so many mermaids on Instagram and they are all so inspiring, kind, and beautiful! I especially love seeing mermaids who are amazing free divers like dear Mermaid Kariel, or groups like Project Mermaids and Mermaids for Change who offer anyone to become a mermaid for a day while supporting ocean conservation. If I had to pick one mermaid, perhaps it would be Mermaid Avalon @orangecountymermaid. What inspires me about her is that she is rather young, but has created her own successful mermaid business by being true to herself and not letting anyone drag her down. In the past year that I have known her, I have seen her overcome many challenges and flourish in her mermaid career on HER terms, with intelligence, integrity, and a positive attitude. This is something that resonates with me, and I find it inspiring even beyond the world of mermaiding.
How long have you been creating?
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. I even have a drawing I made at 3 years old of my baby doll, which my mom saved. In school I was always that one kid in the class that drew all the time, haha! I was always supported by the people in my life to develop my skills and learn as much as I could about art. Someone very special to me even pushed me to learn photoshop and digital design when I was in my teens. I'm so thankful for that because it led to my regular work which is graphic design (I also spent some years teaching art). I love doing graphic design and teaching, but last year I decided I wanted to get back into making more art for myself. That's what led to sharing on Instagram.
Any other tidbits you would like to share with people?
I always feel so touched by each and every comment that I receive on my art, it really makes my day, but I feel particularly humbled and touched when someone reaches out to tell me that my art inspires them to create art themselves. When I look at my favorite artists' work and get that feeling of awe and inspiration, it's very special, and to know that I am creating that feeling in someone else is brings me a joy beyond words.
One little tidbit that not too many people know about me is that I am colorblind. I do see color, just a much narrower spectrum than most people. I've studied color theory extensively which allows me to utilize color the way I do, by decoding and calculating. I made a post explaining a little about my method, and I was happy to see some other colorblind artists comment as well. When I was young, I felt it to be a bit of an obstacle: trying to figure out what color an unlabeled marker was, or having trouble mixing subtle hues in paints. But now, I've embraced it as it has become as much of an influence on the style of my art as other aspects of myself. If I saw colors differently, as a result my art would be quite different too.