Hollie Chastain is a collage artist from Chatanooga. She does a ton of work, from album and book covers to collectible artwork, all using a mixed media approach. Chastain uses vintage source materials as both subject matter and surface, which she combines with drawing to great effect.
There is a kind of nostalgic quality that infuses her work. You can attribute that to some extent to the old-timey source material, but there’s more to it than just that. There’s also the flip side of nostalgia – the uncertainty of memory. When I look at Chastain’s work I feel like I’m treading familiar ground that is somehow twisting away from me, but I’m not at all unhappy with where it takes me. There’s a delightfully hallucinatory Wizard of Oz/ Yellow Submarine quality to it. Chastain is one of those artists whose work reminds me a bit of a whole bunch of other artists: a little bit of Hannah Hoch; a little bit of Henry Darger; a little bit of Joseph Cornell, a little bit of Max Ernst… but in the end, completely unlike them in that her work exists very much in itself. You couldn’t mistake Chastain’s work for the work of any of those artists, and it really stands on its own.
As much as I enjoy Chastain’s work oh-so-very much, she’s one of those elusive types whose work is scattered all over the web so it can be a bit hard to track down. You can check out some of her work on Flickr, you can visit her facebook page, browse her etsy shop or you can go to her website. Each has some different content, they are all well worth checking out. Chastain has had a ton of writeups over the years on the web and in print, sells quite a bit of her work both in original and print formats (check out her facebook page for more details in that regard), and exhibits pretty regularly. In short, she’s pretty awesome, so expect to see more of her. I certainly look forward to it.