Introducing Inspired by Salado, a new project, in partnership with the Salado Art and Cultural District, highlighting the many exciting, prolific artists and community members who have chosen to make Salado their home. This series aims to help you get up close and personal with the individuals who are inspired by Salado, and who continue to inspire us. They are sure to inspire you too!
Meet Hollye Davis.
Given that her business is just a year old, you would assume that Hollye is new to the Village of Salado. Her roots in her newfound hometown, and in Texas, run deep however. Situatied just off of Main Street, Hollye’s artist cooperative project, Uniquely Salado, fills a, well, unique role in our Village. In this town of many artists, there are few places as inclusive as Uniquely Salado. In her words, it offers “a platform” for local artists and helps them “have a voice.”
That theme, one of community or a lack thereof, kept recurring as Hollye reminisced on her journey. “I never got into the bad groups, the good groups, I never had the opportunity to. I was always being uprooted.” Like a lot of artists, her journey to today couldn’t have been predicted. Raised the youngest child and only daughter of a Navy chaplain father, Hollye always found herself searching for community but never could quite find it. With frequent moves across the country, even the world (she attended high school in Germany), Hollye never felt she was able to fit in. She found friendship during her first job out of school, traveling across Europe with delegations of lawyers. Those relationships, those communities, were fleeting.
When talking about the community she has found at Uniquely Salado and about the broader community in Salado, it becomes evident how much Hollye really does love what she has been able to do. “I had been coming to Salado every chance I got for 5 years,” Hollye recounted, “moving to Salado felt like coming home.” In some ways, it was. Her father had been assigned to lead a local Salado church, just over 50 miles from where he grew up. Though Hollye spent her adolescence across the world, Texas was always home. As she puts it, she “wasn’t raised in Texas, but [she] was raised Texan.” While visiting her parents from her current home they would always marvel at Salado, they thought “it was such a cool town.” Well into a marriage, ready for kids, and on the prowl for that “something that was missing in [her] life,” Hollye uprooted her family once more and made the move to Salado.
Just as it took Hollye a few diversions to make this dream come alive, her art has developed over time. Before she was a full-time artist, she found ways to include art in her daily work life. She recalled with pride, “every job I have had has encompassed art.” From designing labels for a food processing company to making doodles during her spare time at a law firm, in Hollye’s life there was always room for art. It took years, however, for her to develop her signature style; as she puts it, “abstract, with elements of realism.” Hollye enjoys making her paintings indentifiable, yet still subjective. She wants to evoke emotion in the art appreciator. “That’s what I want to do. I want people to sit there and discuss how they feel about one of my paintings.” She even likes to stand in the back of a group of people at an art show, that where, as Hollye puts it, “you get the most honest feedback.” The differing opinions on her art, positive, negative, and indifferent, are what she loves. After all, for Hollye, it is all about the people. Discussions of her dream project had little to do with her prominence as an artist. Hollye sees art as being what holds the Village of Salado together and her dream project would take a Village to complete. She proceeded to describe a statue of a mermaid that community members and visitors alike could help construct, by purchasing tokens to install on the piece, each putting their own personal touch on the project. “The way I look at it is,” Hollye explained, “it’s something that would benefit the town, it’s something that would benefit my shop, it would bring people into all of our shops [to buy the tokens], and it also benefit some areas [in the Village] where I think we need some funds.” Fortunately for us, Hollye is just as passionate about her art as she is her community.
Hollye’s primary medium is paint on canvas, but she also enjoys working with pen and ink. When asked about her artistic style, Hollye desribled it as “anti-my grandmother.” “My grandmother was an artist and when I would visit her in the summers, she would teach me how to do art,” Hollye explained, “But my grandmother did pastels, and I hated pastels. They’re just dirty and not what I wanted [to do].” Her grandmother offered not just insight into the types of art she didn’t want to perform, but also inspired her to look deeper into what art and being an artist meant to her. “She was incredibly critical,” Hollye recalled, and that made her wonder if she actually learned something or if she “just feels awful.” Her respect for her grandmother offered inspiration to not only become a better artist but to offer support for budding artists. The community of artists she has built at Uniquely Salado is certainly “anti-critical grandmother.” It is centered around communal support and “offering an opportunity to other artists to follow their dream like I followed my dream.”
When asked what it was that inspired her art the most, she replied, “nature, Texas is beautiful.” How fitting, then, that she ended up in Salado. “I love the [Salado] creek. My son grew up dipping his toes in the water at Pace Park. Hollye continued to express her awe by the nature in Salado, “that water is so cool to me.” She went on to talk about seeing an egret and a heron together, finding their morning meal as she made her way into work the other day, “I don’t know how many people have ever seen that. That was very unique.” It was a very “Salado” scene. The most inspiring thing to Hollye about Salado though is, as she described it, the “spirit.” “What is so inspiring about Salado is that you are with like minded people. “I’m not talking about politics,” she clarified, “we are like-minded individuals who see things differently. There is a certain spirit [in Salado].”
Learn more about Uniquely Salado and begin planning your Salado experience here.