search /// hollie chastain

“i sandwich everything in that stuff”


Another Saturday, another episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR! This time I’m talking to full-time graphic designer turned full-time collage artist, Chattanooga Tennessee based Hollie Chastain. We talk materials {there is a lot of gel medium in her world}, being an artist & mother, and she even threw in a hilariously mortifying phone anxiety love story at the very end. You can listen right up there under those lovely ladies, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the work we talked about in the order that we talked about it. Let’s start with the very first piece of Hollie’s that I ever saw/wrote about. It was the lead image in the “curated” blog post that I did for Etsy way back in the day:


Ah, I still love that piece so much! And below is the piece, titled “Afterthought”, that she mentioned when talking about using gel medium not only as glue, but also for image transfers:


I have to try that! Speaking of things I need to try… book covers! Oh, so many found book covers. Her favorites of course being old school text books complete with scribbles by bored children:


Gah! Her book cover pieces are my absolute favorites! Turns out she has a studio FULL of them… see:


Oh. Jealous! Next up, the illustration she did for The Baffler:


Mixed media, indeed! I quickly mentioned that Hollie was one of the artists in my book, Collage… this was the fantastic original she made for the book, along with a shot of one of her double page spreads:


Love. So. Much. And finally, we didn’t actually talk about her studio space, but I found this photo on her site and I absolutely love this crazy beautiful mess:


Doesn’t that make you want to make something right now!? Me too. And with that, I’ll say thank you to Hollie for joining me today, and thanks so much to you for listening {and looking}… there will be another episode waiting for you next Saturday!

ps. oh, and a link to Lisa Congdon’s book, Art Inc. & a link to Dolan Geiman’s site.

art for your ear : podcast


Yes. A podcast! After quietly writing daily art posts for years, in the spring of 2015 I thought it was time to add a little audio to the visual.

Here’s the idea behind ART FOR YOUR EAR: When I studied art history in university, my favorite part was, well, basically the gossip. I loved hearing why artists did certain things. What was going on in their personal life, stories about other artists they knew and worked with. ART FOR YOUR EAR is exactly that… inside-scoop stories from amazingly talented contemporary artists. Each episode is just long enough for you to listen while drinking your morning coffee, or during a weekend run, or while working in the studio. Ultimately it’s a chance for all of us to get to know these successful artists, who also happen to be regular people with hilarious stories, before they’re in the art history books. I post episodes every Saturday so that you can start your weekend with a bit of art… for your ear.


TO SPONSOR: Art For Your Ear is currently sponsored by Saatchi Art. If you’re interested in sponsoring as well, we’d be happy to send rate sheets. Please email:

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140. CJ HENDRY : petrol. rent. snacks.
139. ESTHER PEARL WATSON AND MARK TODD : playing jenga under a fool moon
138. EKATERINA POPOVA : from pancakes to painting
137. DOUG MEYER : mowing lawns and making art
136. CLARE CELESTE BÖRSCH : dreaming of tigers
135. ASHLEY LONGSHORE : an artrepreneur’s fempire
134. KAYLEE DALTON : mixing magic
133. JANNA WATSON : finding wildness
132. TERRENCE PAYNE : stuff like that and quilts, ya know
131. SUSANNAH MONTAGUE : enjoy the now
130. STINA PERSSON : buckling can be beautiful
129. ROBERT TOWNSEND : my indiana muse
128. MICHELLE KINGDOM : where our happiness lives
127. AMY SHERALD : use it or lose it
126. AIMÉE HENNY BROWN : foxes ‘n’ hedgehogs
125. PIPPA YOUNG : free to be
124. EUGENIA LOLI : a gift
123. WENDY KAWABATA : paintings, pinholes, and pina coladas
122. LISA WRIGHT : really looking
121. SETH CLARK : on the brink
120. FAYTHE LEVINE : never say never
119. DAN LAM : ugly beautiful
118. ANDY J PIZZA : make waves instead of going with the flow
117. RACHEL DENNY : yak friends
116. VICTORIA VILLASANA : restless curiosity
115. AMBER COWAN : crashing the kiln
114. LEE BOYD : falling off the pencil
113. MONIKA FORSBERG : no one ever wants ducks
112. DAISY PATTON : nostalgia, lots of research … and a ghost
111. LINDSAY ARNOLD : what’s the why
110. SEAN WILLIAM RANDALL : balance, brushstrokes, burning cars
109. MARIKO PATERSON : the hustle is real
108. HEATHER DAY : inconvenient spots along rivers
107. CHARLOTTE KEATES : nothing in nature clashes
106. ANNE SIEMS : showers and shamanism
105. SUMMER CAMP 5 : bad art ’n good snacks
104. SUMMER CAMP 4 : captured through collage
103. SUMMER CAMP 3 : unconventional and absurd
102. SUMMER CAMP 2 : the first mark
101. SUMMER CAMP 1 : au naturel
100. MANDO MARIE : see you through it
099. ZEMER PELED : suitcase full of shards
098. NETTIE WAKEFIELD : bit of a pencil snob
097. MEGHAN HILDEBRAND : m is for mysterious
096. BRIAN DONNELLY : fire, failure, and fatty snacks
095. ANNA HOYLE : humor, how-tos, and hindsight
094. MOLLY HATCH : an opportunistic optimist
093. CAT SETO : a cat in paris
092. JENNY BROWN : starting from square one. again.
091. SAMANTHA FIELDS : if i’m in the zone, leave me alone.
090. AARON SMITH : no excuses, no regrets … lots of beards
089. LORI LARUSSO : cucumber shamu
088. NAOMI VONA : a fearless act
087. ELISE MORRIS : inevitably, it changes
086. JAY DART : greetings from yawnder
085. NATALIE BAXTER : warm guns ’n bloated flags
084. CLAIRE BREWSTER : more love, less fear
083. JANE DENTON : simply complex
082. JUDI CUMMING : hey, mama
081. SHANNON RANKIN : not enough hours in the day
080. TREY SPEEGLE : changing the rules
079. ESZTER BURGHARDT : lands of wool and cake
078. BUNNIE REISS : a disciplined free spirit
077. LISA CONGDON : imposters, egos, inner critics … LIVE in portland
076. KRISTEN MARTINCIC : a passion for process
075. TONYA CORKEY : experiments, risks … and dryer lint
074. ASHLEY GOLDBERG : patterns ’n positive passwords
073. MARTA SPENDOWSKA : starting in the background
072. MARTHA RICH : arma-dino
071. TERRENCE PAYNE : pastels, perfection, and prince
070. JIM BACHOR : ancient art … and potholes
069. RYAN HESHKA : pinups, pulp, comics, and canadiana
068. TINA BERNING : step-by-step. every day.
067. KATE ROHDE : don’t discount small opportunities
066. SANDRA ETEROVIC : i guess i better be an artist now
065. CATHERINE GRAFFAM : cheesiness aside, art gave me purpose
064. AMANDA BRAZIER : red bank red is from my yard
063. ALI CAVANAUGH : modern frescoes and micro evolutions
062. REBECCA LOUISE LAW : painting with flowers
061. EMILY BARLETTA : art. therapy.
060. KATHARINE MORLING : drawing with porcelain
059. REBECCA CHAPERON : magical portals and secret painting parties
058. ERIN M RILEY : comfortable in my skin
057. JAIME ROVENSTINE : jellyfish in a trifle
056. GUNJAN AYLAWADI : take your pleasure seriously
055. SALLY TAYLOR : a giant game of telephone … with art
054. KIRSTIN LAMB : cute and poisonous
053. RACHEL CASTLE : castle in the car
052. SCOTT LISTFIELD : astronauts and dinosaurs
051. ZOË PAWLAK : chance favors those in motion
050. LOLA DONOGHUE : lola, don’t be precious
049. ARIS MOORE : big mouths, ukuleles … but no chins
048. AMANDA HAPPÉ : defiance is my favorite motivator
047. BROOKS SALZWEDEL : who doesn’t like a dinosaur
046. SARAH GEE MILLER : organizing the fray
045. JOËL PENKMAN : it began with biscuits
044. NIKE SCHROEDER : nothing is a mistake
043. ANDREA D’AQUINO : discipline … and a bit of chance
042. CAMILLA ENGMAN : distant friends
041. STEPHANIE K CLARK : painting with thread
040. SUSANNA BAUER : i’m a bit impatient
039. XOCHI SOLIS : paper nerds unite
038. SAMANTHA FRENCH : ebb and flow
037. HAGAR VARDIMON : hunting for paper
036. CASEY ROBERTS : nature nerd
035. KIANA MOSLEY : late one night …
034. LEAH GIBERSON : hello, me?
033. AUTUMN REESER : soul of a rose, skin of a rhino
032. MARYANNE MOODIE : textiles, treasures, and a new tribe
031. HAPPY HOLIDAYS : the best gift ever …
030. WAYNE WHITE : hoozy thinky iz
029. BOBBIE BURGERS : welcome to boburg
028. ESTHER PEARL WATSON : ufos, diaries, and underdogs
027. SIDNEY PINK : what charms you
026. JESSICA BRILLI : big salad
025. ASHLEY MISTRIEL : fill the whole ream
024. JESSICA BELL : you can’t make art in the cracks
023. MICHELLE KOHANZO : a nod to creativity
022. KATE BINGAMAN-BURT : make piles of crap
021. DEBRA BROZ : a really slow magician
020. KELLY PUISSEGUR : almost happy
019. JAIME DERRINGER : design milk by day & sketchbooks by night
018. TIFFANIE TURNER : blossoms & burlesque
017. KATE WOODROW : a pitch on a silver platter
016. MAX WANGER : photography was not in the picture
015. HOLLIE CHASTAIN : i sandwich everything in that stuff
014. RACHEL RYLE : latte foam, goop, and gumption
013. LISA GOLIGHTLY : if it scares you, do it
012. MARK BRADLEY-SHOUP : walk the walk
011. ROBERT NOVOGRATZ : how much for the tape measure?
010. LISA CONGDON : push through the messiness
009. VINCENT SERRITELLA : painted into a corner
008. MARY KATE MCDEVITT : you’re in cider town
007. BEN SKINNER : equal or lesser value
006. AMANDA SMITH : girls are my vocabulary
005. PEREGRINE HONIG : on the other side of pop culture
004. TREY SPEEGLE : good luck with that
003. STEPHANIE VOVAS : comfort zones and lack thereof
002. ANTHONY ZINONOS : if it buckles, it buckles
001. MARTHA RICH : meat and cake and lobsters and wigs































COLLAGE: a peek & a project

It’s here! After two years of work, COLLAGE finally hit shelves on Wednesday! I love, love, love collage which is probably why Chronicle Books asked me to do this! I chose 30 very talented collage/mixed media artists from around the world, but I didn’t want to just show their amazing work… this book needed a little twist!

I absolutely love found image collage, and could spend hours looking through old books in thrift shops. When I find an image that I love, it only takes me a second to make a cut n’ paste plan in my head – but what would other collage artists do with that same image? People like Jesse Draxler and Xochi Solis? Enter the twist! Not only did I feature 8 to 10 plates of each artists’ work, I also gave all of them the same starting image – a mustache-clad accordion player and his little bearded cowboy brother – and asked them to create a completely new, totally unique, original collage using all or some of that photo. And they did…

Gah! So good, right?! In some of them you have to work pretty hard to find the original image, and in other pieces it’s the star. I love that every artist took this image and completely made it their own. And so, I want you to be able to do it too! Here’s the photograph {which, by the way, is my dad and my uncle in 1958!}… Right click on it / Save it / Print it / Make a collage!

ps. Thank you to Chronicle for inviting me to do this, and for designing such a beautiful book! Thank you to the 30 amazing artists who made this book into a gorgeous collection of contemporary art.  To my dad and Uncle Bill for letting us use this hilarious picture, and for not making us pay any royalties! And, I absolutely have to send some love to UK based collage artist Anthony Zinonos. Not only was he one of the featured artists, but he also wrote the funny, touching, inspiring foreword… xoxo!

{work above by 1. Me  2. Hollie Chastain 3. Jesse Draxler 4. Bill Zindel 5. Xochi Solis 6. Anthony Zinonos}


Happy weekend! Today, collage artist Hollie Chastain and I are pretending to be at Aretha Frankenstein’s in Chattanooga TN. Ready for a giant stack o’ pancakes? Of course you are!

JC: hi hollie! oh my word, this food looks good! what are you gonna have? any recos?

HC: oh man, that’s the big question. there is usually a bit of a wait here, because it is amazing, so i have time to think and fret. i’m thinking the sodbuster omelette this morning with coffee and orange juice. but if you’ve never had their pancakes, then you have to try those.

JC: is this your usual brunch place? your kids must LOVE it here!

HC: they do love it! i don’t bring them as often as i should. is that awful? i think it is. brunch is usually my recovery, quiet, down-time with the husband or a friend after a night out when the kids are at the grandparents so they miss out. now i feel bad and i’ll have to bring them this weekend for some yummy goodness.

JC: you better! they might smell the pancakes on you when you get home! speaking of kids, you sometimes have children in your collages – are those your kids? do they represent your kids, or are they totally unrelated?

HC: some of them are my kids but i’ve only done that intentionally maybe once or twice. a few times i have unintentionally worked them into compositions. i don’t notice it at first until someone points out that it looks just like one or the other of them.

JC: so when we’re finished, what are you going to do for the rest of the weekend? art stuff? family stuff? both?

HC: i think that all of my time is a little bit of both. during the week i work until family stuff pulls me away and it’s the opposite on the weekends. i just got a fresh and wonderful batch of books so i know i won’t be able to stay away from the studio all day. i can feel those covers calling me!

JC: oh, your book covers…. i LOVE your book covers!!! do you have collages planned in your mind and then you go looking for the covers, or will finding a good one spark an idea for a piece?

HC: thanks! i really love making them. i never plan them ahead of time. when i find one i like i sit down with my scraps and move things around until something feels perfect. most of the time i will first decide what i can’t bear to cover up on the original cover and that is the beginning of the shape of the composition.

JC: where do you find all of those old books, and images that make their way into your collages?

HC: any thrift store or antique store usually has a book section and within that section a box or shelf or bin full of scrappy books. old textbooks are the best. the paper quality is heavy and sturdy because it had to survive years of constant manhandling by children. they also have the best doodles! i always try and find things that are at least a little bit falling-apart-ish but still have sturdy, straight covers. i remember being in a tiny little shop, in a tiny house, outside of nashville and  i found a ratty old newspaper from the 60s. as i was purchasing my stack i patiently listened to the owner describe in detail how to steam off the price sticker – i couldn’t manage to tell him i was going to disassemble it for the parts.

JC: ha! probably best not to break it to him! ahhh, thanks so much for having brunch with me hollie! let me get the cheque ; )

HC: you are too kind. thanks, this has been super fun!


Ah, another weekend, another {pretend} brunch with one of my favorite artists, at their favorite brunch spot! Today I’m visiting with my lovely friend, painter Samantha French, in Brooklyn at Cafe Ghia. Grab your coffee, and join us!

JC: hey samantha! so, what’s good here?

SF: i’m starting with a coffee and orange juice. they’ve got a killer waffle with seasonal toppings, so I’ll have that along with the fruit & yogurt with maple granola. Yum.

JC: ok, you had me at “killer waffle”- i’m in! so, who do you normally share your waffles with?

SF: you can usually find me at brunch with my boyfriend, aaron and our two dogs (if it’s nice enough to sit outside)

JC:  aaron is an amazing painter too! do you ever paint together, or do you have your own separate studios?

SF: he is! and he just opened a group show in NY last week.  we’ve always kept separate studios, but still frequently bounce ideas off each other – he’s my go to when i need help with a technical drawing issue or an honest critique. though we’ve never actually collaborated on anything, we’ve talked about it. our painting styles are pretty similar already so we’d probably do something out of the ordinary from our typical work, more experimental.

JC: you should! i’d love to see what you guys might come up with! so, what are you doing later? do you normally spend the weekend in the studio, or do you use saturday and sunday for other stuff?

SF: i love going to the studio on the weekends. it’s nice and quiet and seems like there is less pressure – but it really depends – if i spent all week in the studio, and don’t have anything pressing, i might just head home to relax – especially if I just ate that whole waffle by myself. plus trying to run any errands in NY on the weekends leads to chaos. i usually spend sunday evenings working on print orders that have come in over the weekend.

JC: what about swimming? do ever spend your free time swimming – without a camera!?

SF: you know, it has been a long time since i’ve left the camera at home while swimming. you never know when you’re going to need it, and i’d hate to miss an opportunity  – but I still enjoy it, so that’s all that matters.

JC: totally! i can’t believe i passed up a chance to go swimming with you in chattanooga. next time! thanks for {pretend} brunch sam… mmmm {pretend} waffles! delicious.

psst… some of Samantha’s new work ♥ …

See you next weekend for brunch in Tennessee with Hollie Chastain!

oh, hello chattanooga!

Well, I’m off {literally on a plane right this very moment} to Tennessee! It’s going to be an amazing trip. Here’s how the next few days fold out:


* Finally meet Mark Bradley Shoup! : Atlanta airport

* Start installing Beautifully Boring at Tanner Hill Gallery


* 10 am EST : Airing of interview with NPR affilate, WUTC ~

* 10am ~ 4ish : Tours of the Art & Design students’ studios ~ University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

* 5:30pm : Lecture at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


* Hang out with Leah Giberson and Samantha French… wishing Holly Farrell was with us too!

* 5:30 – 8pm : Opening of Beautifully Boring at Tanner Hill Gallery (Curatorial Talk ~ 6pm)

Oh, and one more crazy perk to this trip?! I get to meet an artist that I have loved for AGES… Chattanooga based artist Hollie Chastain will be swinging by the opening as well. Here are a few of my favorite collages by Hollie:

Sigh. I feel like I might to get wrapped up in a cozy diamond blanket when all of this excitement is over! Stay tuned – I’ll have photos of everything very, very soon!

it’s here…

1000 posts. WHAT?! Now that’s a lot of jealousy… the good kind, that is! And, by “the good kind”, I mean the kind that punches you in the creative gut, and instead of stopping you in your tracks, inspires you to get back into the studio so that you can work your artsy butt off! To put it bluntly.

I have to admit, I’m really proud of hitting 1000 posts, and so I want to celebrate! But before we do, I want to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for showing up every day and reading/being jealous too! Now… how to celebrate? I reached out to a few of the lovely people that I’ve met over the past three years, and they all generously donated a little something for me to give to you. I have to be honest, I wish I could enter! But I can’t… right? Right : ( Ok, so all you have to do is leave a comment below, and on Thursday September 13th, at 12pm PST I’m going to draw one winner. Yep, one winner who will get all of these prints:

Whoa! I hope you have a lot of frames, and a lot of blank wall space! Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, I got an email from one of my readers who offered to throw in one of her very cute messenger bags:

A gnome on a wiener dog? How could I not take Amy up on her lovely offer! So there you have it. Leave a comment below, and I’ll let you know who won on Thursday… and with that, here’s to 1000 more posts!

{Huge thanks, and big hugs, to 1. Victoria Smith 2. Tali Yalonetzki 3. Hollie Chastain 4. Lisa Golightly 5.  Leah Giberson 6. Jennifer Davis 7. Alyson Fox 8. Amy Fancher} xo!

it’s a…

Happy Hallowe’en! Yep, it’s the perfect day for giving treats, and boy oh boy, have I got a good one for you! The stunningly beautiful art magazine, Fine Line, is going to package up their first four issues into a neat little box set for two, that’s right, two lucky readers! All you have to do is “like” their Facebook page, and leave a comment here {so I can draw your name/know how to give you the good news!} I’ll do the draw on Thursday November 3rd, at noon Pacific time, and announce the two winners here {leave me your email too if you’d like!} Yep, that’s it… easier than dressing up and going door to door looking for treats, don’t ya think?

Oh, and here are a few of my favorite artists, that have been featured in these first four issues {ie. a little preview of the treat!}:

{Jesse Draxler // Javier Pinon // Hollie Chastain // Amira Fritz // Jonathan Zawada}

i’m jealous of fine line… again

I wrote about Fine Line, an insanely beautiful art magazine, when the first issue came out last year. They are now on Issue 4, and it, of course, is as lovely as ever. Here’s the latest news though… they are now selling limited edition prints by some of the artists that they’ve featured. The work is gorgeous {a few pieces are shown above}, and very affordable {as in $20 affordable!}… what a perfect combination! Pick yourself up a subscription, and a print or two from the Fine Line Etsy shop.

{Images above: 1. Issue 4 cover ~ art by Nina Nolte  2. Masako Miki  3. Greg Eason  4. Hollie Chastain}

i’m jealous of jessica & cassandra

Jessica Steeber and Cassandra Smith are artists and curators – oh, and they’re also the co-creators of Fine Line, a brand new quarterly print magazine, based in Milwaukee, that just came out last week.  It’s ad and article free… in other words, it’s a whole bunch of big, beautiful, glossy, uninterrupted, art-filled pages. Um, yes, I’m jealous. If The Jealous Curator was a magazine, it would be this magazine. I love so many of the artists featured in the first issue, and have actually written about a handful of them. Sigh. Nice work ladies – it’s gorgeous.

{Artists featured above… cover ~ Christopher Gorski; Jeremy Daigneault; Sidney Pink; Blaise Pascal; Benedetta Falugi; Hollie Chastain; Van Morrison quote}

psst… you can buy issue 1 online right at this very moment. enjoy!