Hillary Holsonback is a multimedia artist from Texas. Holsonback specializes in projection-based “collaged” photographic imagery, incorporating images of herself clandestinely posed in almost
unrecognizable contexts with (and as) women throughout American popular culture. She is also a performance artist focusing in experimental theater and video work.

Artist CV

Interview with Voyage Dallas - August 2018

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My story begins in 1927. I came across a film on Turner Classic Movies called ‘It’ – no, not Stephen King’s ‘It’. This movie was written by a popular columnist at the time, launching the brand-new concept of the ‘It’ Girl. Of course, as the columnist intended, I fell in love with the leading lady Clara Bow. This eventually set me on the path to exploring iconic women of the 20th century. I don’t know what it is about the Brigitte Bardot’s, Edie Sedgewick’s, and Anna Karina’s of the world. They captivate me on so many levels. I was not a social butterfly as a child – I spent most of my time living vicariously through the history of film, television, music, fashion, politics, literature, social etiquette and art movements. It inspires and informs everything I create as a visual and performing artist. I like to dig up the bones of the past, dust them off and infuse them with my own version of weird.

I first picked up a camera at 10 years old, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I attempted to copy the big wigs like Man Ray and Richard Avedon but mostly stuck to taking mediocre pictures of bands and local models. It wasn’t until later in life when attending graduate school in 2010 that I met a handful of influential people who really believed in me. I had so many ideas and no clue as to where to start. They definitely encouraged me to become the artist I craved to be.

Please tell us about your art.
I’m a mixed bag of mediums. I started out photographing myself performing with a projection screen. I would set up the timer on my camera, run to my wall where an image was projected, and dance through it. All of my photographs are untouched self-portrait images documenting a moment in time, a performance. From there, I collaborated with my contemporaries in dance, sculpting, video art, painting, and writing. My world broadened even further pushing me into experimental theater, film, and music. I’m now working on a concept character named Tan. She’s intentionally ambiguous – you only see this manifestation of her through video right now. I was always fascinated with live TV glitches and slip ups – it’s exciting, isn’t it?! I think it reminds us of the emptiness and just how deep it goes by playing with time; expanding and contracting moments. I try to replicate this kind of fragmentation in my Tan videos. She’s blissfully detached and profoundly indifferent to everything. Don’t look for a plot her videos, they mean nothing. She’s a stock character, totally free to use. I want artists from all mediums to use her, mold her, reinvent her. In her current form, she was born out of masculine projections. I built her completely void of feminine individuality. She merely glitters.

I like to experiment with free art forms. You can purchase, own and hold a framed photo in your hands – but you can’t really do that with a character or live improvisational performance. I’m drawn to forms that feel too free to control. I don’t like to spend too much time thinking. Contributing to the sameness of everything is my biggest fear, which you can easily do by overthinking your projects. I want to be a reset button. I don’t know much about the technical aspects of a camera, performance art, writing music, making video. But that’s never stopped me. I’m not particularly interested in trying to get you to see through my eyes. I don’t take myself seriously, so why should you?

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
The best way to keep up with what I’m currently working on is by following me on Instagram. I often have various performances and gallery shows throughout the year, which you can find out about through social media. I continue to collaborate with some fantastically talented artists, so you probably can see me prancing around town as a deer or singing Christmas holiday standards in some dark corner of a party.


For inquiries, please email hillyholsonback@gmail.com