Hollie Heller is a mixed media collage artist who splits her time between New York City and Costa Rica. As unique as her finished contemporary works, Heller’s creative process is equally intriguing. Each project begins with a curious investigation and collection of diverse yet common materials. This compilation of seemingly arbitrary items serves a critical structural purpose in her work. With a wealth of newly created raw material, Heller builds her compositions piece and layer at a time. Heller describes her work as experimental, using processes that she has discovered in her studio with products such as latex, acrylic mediums, wood stain, pigments, dyes and bleach with paper and fabric. Heller has been teaching Surface Design and Collage for over 20 years in Universities as well as Workshops nationally. Her wall pieces are included in many corporate and private collections including: Hyatt Hotels in San Antonio Texas, Sarasota Florida, Penns Landing in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Sadona Arizona. Hilton Hotel in Nashville Tennessee, Doubletree Hotel in Chicago Illinois, Southpark Suites in Charlotte North Carolinia, Wesin Hotel in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, Omni Hotels in Atlanta Georgia and Orlando Florida, HBO World Headquarters in New York City, the Arthur Blank Foundation in Atlanta Georgia, Rutgers University in New Brunswick New Jersey and Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals in New Brunswick New Jersey.
My husband and I began visiting and fell in love with Costa Rica five years ago. We bought a beautiful Villa on the Pacific sea coast in the surfing town of Tamarindo. After spending an increasing amount of time there, I started reevaluating my next step in teaching. One day I had an epiphany as I walked down the stairs looking out at the afternoon sun glistening on the ocean, “why don’t I create an Art Retreat here?” At this point we had met so many people from all over the world, who live here, and are interested in art and I realized that there was nowhere in town to take classes or actively engage in making art. This area is known for surfing, yoga, and of course enjoying the beauty of this amazing tropical paradise. This seemed like a natural next step for me and my husband as our four boys are grown becoming independent. We decided to sell our villa and build a home and studio on an ocean front lot right outside of the bustling town in a gated community called the Tamarindo Preserve. Our house and the 700 square foot studio are now a reality. My vision for Artist Retreat Tamarindo is to create a haven for artists to get away from their normal work spaces and breathe in a new art experience. I have been teaching one week collage workshops for the past twenty years at places like Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Crafts, and Surface Design and Quilt conferences nationally. I knew the response to my classes and know what works and how to pace a week long class.
I am so excited to be offering this art experience especially with the beautiful warm weather, ocean views and breezes that this very special art studio will offer all year around. Growing up in the summers at my families home on the New Jersey shore, I remember sitting on the beach in the early evenings looking out on the horizon wandering where my life will lead. This lifestyle of fusing my love of art and being on the ocean seems as though it was planted in my mind back then. After so many years of teaching, I cannot think of a more wonderful environment to be in then a room full of creative people making art. I love the process of teaching and the process of making art and have created my own philosophies about “making art” that I am anxious to share. When teaching groups of artists I am reminded of my own studio practices and reactions to new discoveries and unsuccessful ones. When I am designing a class I am always drawing on my own art making experience which is very process driven. My own working style tends to be very systematic and when students have a hard time getting started I try to break down the project to a step by step activity. The classes and projects I have designed are a balance between offering new insights and techniques as well as inducing creative thinking. The workshop studio is a unique environment where I can observe students’ creative process and instruct individually within the class. I learn something new from my students in each class that I teach and because I am so involved in my own daily art making this knowledge of how to make a class work seems to come very naturally to me. I hope to have returning students and friends come share this experience as well as new students and residents of Costa Rica. The people in Tamarindo are wonderful and the town draws an international community which adds a fresh outlook on every day here. Tamarindo is a place that can offer a “back to earth” lifestyle leaving the high technology world behind. An opportunity to renew a love of nature with little distractions from the pressures of our fast paced world. For a week, Artist Retreat Tamarindo , will fuse creative energy and give artists a chance to get out of their box, relate to new creative people, and most important to give themselves the experience of being inspired by the beauty of nature. I hope you will join me here and take a class, form a small group for independent work time, or come share my studio with me.