Brian Holden is looking forward to his placement at the Baggage Building at Prince Arthur’s Landing in the month of April. He excited about big sinks, lots of light, and lots of floor space in which he will be working and interacting with the public who can come in and try their hand at printmaking. Working as a printmaker in Thunder Bay for nearly thirty years, and twenty years as an arts educator for children and adults, Brian has extensive experience. So, if you’ve never heard of such processes as intaglio, dry point, and monotype, Brian will have materials, samples, and even tutorials on his laptop available for your learning pleasure. He will also have his wonderful work on display.
For a workshop in Dryden this weekend, and others Brian has done in the past, funding comes from two programs; Northern Arts and Artist in Education, branches of the Ontario Arts Council. For the latter, teachers choose artists and workshops they wish to have in their school. Brian has also worked extensively with CAHEP (Community Arts & Heritage Education Project). With major funding cutbacks to the school system by previous provincial governments this funding is very valuable to Northern communities, and helps keep worthwhile artists like Brian in our area.
To suggest that artists would leave if they didn’t get funding, sounds like an insult to the area, but what most artists know is that a bigger city will have the infrastructure and population to support them as artists. But Brian is bound to the land more than most of us artists. “I like my trees and I like my rocks. They just don’t want to leave me. And of course the landscape of the region that I live in, keeps motivating and inspiring me. I keep thinking I’ll get sick of it, but it hasn’t happened. This is something inbred. It’s a calling.”
Years ago, Brian was producing the most beautiful and delicate little graphite drawings, much like the work of Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer. Brian shows equal passion for the printmaking processes in which he immerses himself, learning as much as he can with materials that are as environmentally friendly as possible.
With a New Works project grant from the OAC, Brian is researching how plant and animal species at risk in the region are readapting, relocating or disappearing altogether as a result of climate change. With information obtained from the MNR and soon from members of the Field Naturalist Association, Brian will head into the bush to make his own observations. He wants to raise awareness of the changing diversity in the region, along with the challenges of studying these changes, both due to Global Warming. Brian is delving into themes of conservancy, environmentalism, and science based knowledge in order to create a series of beautiful new miniature works.