High Horse gallery to host Troy artist Nall Hollis on Oct. 23

Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

On October 23, the High Horse Gallery will play host to an Alabama treasure. Many artists dream of making it big and of moving off to Europe, but Troy native, Nall Hollis, has accomplished this dream.

Hollis and was destined from the beginning to be an artist, according to his mother. “Mother said I stabbed my way out of the womb with a pencil,” he said when asked how he got his start as an artist.

As a boy, Hollis felt the calling to be an artist and saw this passion manifested in a few of his family members. He found inspiration in his father and great aunt. Both were painters and peaked the interest of Hollis, setting him on his path to artistry.

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After attending college at the University of Alabama, Hollis received a degree in art, political science and abnormal psychology. It was during college that he really began to explore his likes, dislikes and what made him different from the other students. After attempting to get a start in banking with his father, Hollis began to understand that he was called to become an artist.

It was then that Hollis set off on the beginning of his adventure by running away from home at the age of 21. He applied to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, and continued his studies. “I really did live the starving, Bohemian artist life before things got jumpstarted,” said Hollis. Hollis has had the chance to meet many famous artists, such as Salvador Dali. Hollis had the privilege of meeting Dali and studying under him, and Hollis believes that this has been one of the most influential elements of his career.

Hollis also believes that running away from home was exactly the push he needed to become who he is today. By going out on his own and having to rely on his own art to feed and clothe himself, he was pushed to learn and become more. “It was an incredible experience to be able to work in Paris as an artist and be surrounded by people from all over the world. That was kind of my big break, running away from home and getting out of Alabama. I saw that one could actually live off one’s own artwork. That gave me the ambition to do such a thing, and it worked,” said Hollis.

Hollis’ desire now is to enhance the technique of pencil drawing. “I wanted to bring the pencil drawing up to a higher level than it had ever been before,” said Hollis.

Through the diligent help of Hollis’ assistant, Hollie Halford, he was introduced to the idea of holding an art show in Greenville. Halford earned the opportunity to intern with Hollis in Vence, France, and knew that his works would be a perfect fit for the High Horse Gallery.

Mary McKinley, owner of the High Horse Gallery, is excited to host Hollis and believes that his appearance will help inspire other artists in the area. “I appreciate him taking a chance on me and on Greenville,” she said.

Hollis will be returning to Alabama and hopes to have the opportunity to mentor young artists. “I think I’m more useful in Alabama as an artist by having European experience and actually knowing how to live as an artist. I can relate to the kids in Alabama,” said Hollis. He believes that his experiences will enable him to help young artists know what to expect when they go out into the world, and will prepare them for the realities of the artist’s life.