Hollis Chatelain was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but lived fourteen years of her adult life overseas in Switzerland and in four West African countries. At the end of 1996, she moved back to the United States. Her current studio and home are in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Hollis’ educational background is in design and photography. She has worked in the arts in one form or another since 1976. Hollis started her career as a textile artist in Africa. Her interest was sparked by the richness and beauty of African fabrics which are ever so integrated into the everyday life of Africans. Her distinctive use of colors and imagery, as well as her dye-painted scenes of multicultural life have brought her international recognition. Hollis’ work can be found in public and private collections in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, New Zealand and North America. In addition to creating her textile art, Hollis lectures and leads workshops on drawing, color, dye painting, quilting, and West African textiles.
Much of my work is influenced by personal experiences. I make imagery that evokes an emotional response and creates a mood or atmosphere. My dreams also provide me with an infinite supply of inspiration and reinforce my views and feelings. When I am at peace, I dream images and color flows. When my life is chaotic, I dream people and events. My dreams are lucid and always in color.
The twelve years I lived in Africa have deeply influenced me. Six months after moving back to the United States, my longing for Africa was so great that I started to paint African images in order to put me back into the life I loved so much. I feel Americans should know more about the joy, harmony, and pride of the African people, rather than only hearing about the suffering and turmoil so commonly depicted in the media. I would like viewers to see my African imagery as a tribute to a people I truly admire and respect.
Since 2000, much of my work has reflected my feelings upon worldwide issues. Whether these concerns be social or environmental, they have overwhelmed my dreams and manifested themselves in my art.