Cameron Holmes: Using Fear to Fuel Artistic Growth

It wasn’t until his adult years that Cameron Holmes discovered his passion for art. He describes his first experience creating visual art as “love at first sight,” and he hasn’t looked back since. From that first moment, he has been in constant chase of evolution and worked hard to produce work of which he can be proud. 

Artist working on a canvas, shot from behind cans of paint

Cameron loves the freedom his art career allows him.

His background is possibly as far from the art scene as possible – he grew up with an interest in commerce and pursued sport semi-professionally. His family have no ties to the art community. However, that creative vein has always been pumping through him.

Creating art for the first time opened up a whole new set of freedoms to Cameron.  “It was like being a baby, being born into the world in a way.” He used the discipline of his sporting background to put in the hours required to turn his new passion into a career, treating his studio as he would the gym.

Paintbrushes in an empty paint pot, next to gold leaf

In his work, Cameron often uses gold leaf for an extra touch.

Initially, Cameron begun with drawings in a notebook, but soon graduated to painting on canvas. He appreciates the way that one can use layer, and ultimately attain such bright colours. When it comes to painting on a canvas, he explains “the most enjoyable parts are the layers and amount of time I can take on a piece.”

Artist holding palette in brush, sitting in front of wall of artworks

Most pieces take Cameron two to three months to complete.

Each piece can take Cameron many months to complete. When he is undertaking a series, he’ll often have a few pieces on the go at the same time. “It really helps bring it all together to be working on them all at once,” he says. Because he often works in oil paint, which is notoriously slow to dry, working on multiple pieces can make the process much more efficient. Every piece of Cameron’s work contains multiple layers of paint, which means there’s a lot of waiting to be done in between layers. According to Cameron, a painting isn’t finished until he can ask himself “if this was to be shown in a gallery, would [I] be happy with it?” and confidently answer “yes.”

palettes sitting on a drop sheet on the floor

Art can get messy sometimes! Cameron’s work often explores themes of chaos. 

It’s extremely important to Cameron that he continues to grow as an artist. He is determined not to get locked into one style, and as such he is continually pushing himself to create new work and explore new concepts. He explains, “the evolution process is really important to me because most of the artists that I idolise – Picasso, Dali, De Kooning, Francis Bacon – they would constantly reinvent themselves.” As such, he constantly experiments with his art. Recently, his colour palette has shifted as he explores the use of more pastel colours in his series Women. He is determined to keep his work fresh, and reminds himself constantly “don’t let yourself get boxed into a certain style.”

Side view of artist painting on a half complete canvas

Continual evolution is important to Cameron – he doesn’t want to limit himself by getting locked into one style or theme.

Thematically, Cameron’s work explores challenging topics, such as his own fears. “I like going into those vulnerable subjects” says Cameron. He certainly doesn’t shy away from honesty, although at times it can be tough. The work he is drawn to has always been vulnerable, moving and impactful. In his endeavour to achieve similarly relatable work, he has realised that he needs to be courageous. “It’s easy to paint a rosy coloured picture, but I don’t want to be that sort of person.”

As a self-taught artist, Cameron constantly struggles with insecurity. The fear that he’ll never be satisfied with his work is constantly haunting him. However, he uses this fear to fuel his growth as an artist. It keeps him hungry to learn more, and work harder.

Cameron views his work as similar to jazz music – “it’s very improvised and in the moment but I am also trying to make it into something beautiful”. His work attempts to make sense of the chaos of life.

Artist's desk

Cameron’s desk is a visual feast in itself!

In the future, Cameron hopes to work in a larger scale, and to take his art to the public. He’s interested in displaying his art on the streets and doing some paste ups which the public can enjoy. Of course, he’s also interested in holding solo exhibitions of his work as well.

Check out the video of our chat below!

We Answer the Most Pressing Art Questions on Houzz

One Comment

  1. Kat Schmitt says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so inspiring to hear about your journey as self taught artist.

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