First Friday Santa Cruz



Dennis Holt

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Mixed Media

Like many people, I began drawing & coloring at a very early age. In junior high-school, I took the standard classes in art & drafting. As an older teen-ager, through books & museum-visits, I studied art-history independently of my high-school curriculum, & later took college-level courses in art & drafting. As an adult, I have engaged sporadically in creating my own pictorial works whenever time has allowed.
My first solo show took place at the Never Ending Bookstore in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2002. After my career as an academic linguist ended in 2003, I opened my own bookstore & art-gallery, Quetzalcoyotl Books & Art, in Missoula, Montana, which I operated for six months, exhibiting works by local & visiting artists, as well as some of my own. I settled in Santa Cruz County late in 2003, & since then I have found much more free time in which to practice & develop my art.
During the period 2005-2011, I produced a number of large works on paper using oil pastels. In 2010, I began to create miniature art-works with Sharpies on 3” x 5” index-cards, usually while sitting in coffee-shops. A number of the more successful of these small works have been reproduced on card-stock & foisted on an unsuspecting public as “Ott-Cods”, which I have sometimes tried to peddle on the street, but which more often I have given to friends or as part of a tip to a waitress or bartender. After having produced over 700 such works, I realized that if I moved up to 4” x 6” index-cards, the subsequent copies would be big enuff to be used as post-cards. I have now created about 200 of these.
More recently, I have dedicated my energies to larger works that I create at home, using various media, including acrylics & paper collage. Before the Covid virus hit, I had a series of yearly exhibits of my works at the Boulder Creek Branch Library, & in March of 2019 I had a successful solo show at the Red Dot Gallery in Santa Cruz.
In addition to representational & abstract works, many of my recent creations have involved the artistic use of symbols from various writing-systems, especially Chinese — both the earlier seal-characters & the modern forms — & Linear B, a now extinct syllabary used in Greece during the period 1500-1300 BC, long before the Greek alphabet was developed. In the case of Linear B, I have revitalized a set of written symbols that in their own time were used only to record (on clay tablets) the contents of royal store-houses. Now, in a number of my works, they have been used to represent figures from Greek mythology, motherhood, & even a haiku in Japanese by Basho. In 2012 I found & bought a copy of the book Sacred Calligraphy pf the East by John Stevens MD, which inspired me to produce a series of works, of various sizes, involving Tibetan stylizations of earlier Sanskrit Devanagari forms. A recent development has been the creation of numerous collaborative works with my friend Luis Campos (the creator of the syndicated cryptogram-feature Celebrity Cipher, which appears on the puzzle-page of the Santa Cruz Sentinel six times a week).

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