Artist Residency at The Andalucia with Holly Boruck

Apr 11, 2017

HP: What is this residency, exactly? Through what organization, for how long, and are there any requirements?

Holly: In general, an ‘artist residency’ is where an artist goes outside of their normal studio space and inhabits an alternative space so that they can have time to experiment with materials, explore ideas, do research on future artwork topics, or simply have time for reflection away from their ‘normal’ studio environment. The tradition of artist residencies also very often involves some form of local/public involvement.

My artist residency was a kismet happenstance generated from my directorship of Surrogate Gallery Projects (SGP) where we had our recent exhibition S + P = A. I was given an extension for the use of the space until mid-June but I wasn’t ready to mount a back-to-back SGP exhibition and needed some rest. So, the space was available and I took the opportunity to use it as an artists’ residency until April 28.

HP: What’s your approach to this residency? Is there a particular reason you’re focusing on portraits and will that continue?

Holly: I knew that for my residency at The Andalucía I wanted to work on something that would be enabled and respond to the location itself, and not simply transport my studio down to the space and work on things I’ve already got going. I wanted to begin a new body of work, engaging the public in some way. The other aspect that was driving me was that I wanted the residency to be an opportunity to express my own personal feelings about the current state-of-affairs in the United States, and the world. So, after some thought about how I wanted to accomplish this, I decided that I would channel my own feelings and thoughts through others. By inviting the public to express their feelings/reactions/ideas, I’ve been able to express myself more clearly and effectively. When someone comes in, sees what I’m doing and would like to participate, I ask them to react physically, in anyway they’d like, to my question: “What is your outlook, response, frame of mind about the current state of the world?”

So far the reaction from the public has been fantastic! It’s been very cathartic and artistically energizing for me too. I plan on continuing to work on the “Zeitgeist Portraits” after the residency is completed.


Holly Boruck, Vida.


Holly Boruck, Brian M.


HP: Are you approaching the art your creating any differently than when you’ve created before? Are you using any different techniques, any experimenting? What is your medium – acrylics?

Holly: I determined that the experimentation that I wanted to explore was in the content and not necessarily in materials. I don’t have funding in place for the residency and therefore I decided to use materials from my studio that I have in surplus. Some experimentation happened naturally because after working in the space for a couple of days I realized that the scale of the paintings need to change, become larger to echo the size of the space. Studio spaces normally dictate the size of one’s work; my studio at home is on the small size and I wasn’t used to working in a large space! I love working in oils and I had tons of Mylar and large rolls of paper so I’ve used whatever I already had a lot of.

HP: What do you hope to receive from this particular residency experience or do you reflect on that once it’s completed, or maybe you just keep moving forward!

Holly: I’ve been very inspired by the people who have participated in my residency portraits and plan to continue working on Zeitgeist Portraits well after my residency at The Andalucía is completed.

HP: Holly, I don’t even know if I’m asking the right questions, so feel free to ignore what you wish or take a question in any direction you want. As short as you want, too, because I know you’re busy. And, lastly would it be possible to share one or two of your portraits to include in the article?

Holly: Yes! Please feel free to use any, or all, of the three portraits I’ve completed so far. Thank you ever so much for asking about my residency, Kat! Your support for Surrogate Gallery Projects has been absolutely wonderful and I so appreciate all you do for Pasadena.


Learn more about Holly and see her artwork at


HP: The emotions that Holly captures in her portraits is palpable, perhaps especially so in her portrait Marlene H. Several aspects of this work affected us: the flowing hair, free and untamed; the black top casual and loose; the look downward with only the skin on the left side of her forehead showing lines, indicating what—her questioning and skepticism, her challenging and cynicism? Her lips are pressed together firmly, yet her mouth is not actually frowning; is she contemplative, quietly determined, or perturbed?


Holly Boruck, Marlene H. (partial).


… the stiff arms, body unyielding, and clenched fists; we can feel how tightly she’s clenching her hands, imagine her nails digging into her palms—all her anger, fear, frustration, and sense of helplessness embodied here…



… and, finally, the full portrait, Marlene H.…



Interested in participating?

The Andalusia is directly behind Vroman’s Bookstore at 686 E. Union St., Pasadena.

Generally, Holly is working in her space Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays, 3-5 p.m.

and all day on Fridays

through April 28.

To make sure she’s there, please text Holly at 1.818.398.1602.

Come visit.

Come participate!




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