Holly Main BA (Hons) Fine Art

Holly Main

Through my practice I am providing a visual platform for the contemporary working class, elevating figures into large scale oil paintings. I take inspiration from music videos and film and intend to convey the unapologetic nature displayed within the characters, whilst creating discussion around what could be perceived as the common stereotypical narrative around the culture. Tracksuits and hoodies are a continuing motif which connects the work, the consumption of certain brands and items being prevalent in contemporary society and associated with working class communities.

The collaged environments act as a theatrical stage for narratives to unravel and set a scene and feeling for the painting. The settings, whether they be high rise buildings or dingy corners of estates are spaces we all see regularly, but my work highlights those who reside there and the struggles they face whilst also celebrating their strength through eye contact and gesture. These characters are placed as actors who are integral to the theme of the painting combining a mix of biographical documentation of family and friends, with fictional influence from films such as Trainspotting. There are fictional characters I discover which often correlate with people I know or experiences had, often film and TV influence how society can view groups of people, I am playing with that idea and stereotype portrayed. Whilst the work regularly characterises personal relations, the scenarios seek to provide a truthful and relatable setting.

A large source of inspiration continues to come from rap music and their visuals, these portrayals influence the large intimidating figures and raw urban environments within my work. Through the representation of the working class and sub-cultures that I relate to, I want to question: what is perceived as institutionally acceptable? inviting viewers to engage in conversations surrounding socio-political representation and lived experience.