Jill Holder is an artist living and working in the south east of England. Brought up during the austerity following World War II she learnt to amuse herself with the things she found around her – A discarded matchbox, pebbles, scraps of paper, beads etc.
Following school, she joined the foundation course at Croydon College of Art where she was lucky enough to study under Clive Barker and Bruce McLean, both rocketing to stardom at the time. Then, as family pressure insisted, she studied “something worthwhile” choosing Fashion at St Martins in London.
She worked in fashion and interiors, before giving up everything to concentrate on her work as an artist.
She is still doing what she did as a child. "Primarily I make things." She says. "My palette consists of almost anything that resonates with me. It might be paint, wax or clay - but it is just as likely to be an ooja found on the street, or a thingumijig from a boot market - and I use whatever method I need, to put a piece together. I'm excited by texture and neutral colours, always searching for a juxtaposition that satisfies me, and a work that reveals layers of meaning.
However, I would prefer the onlooker to come to their own conclusions about a work, maybe offering only a clue or starting point. I also like interfacing with the public through my work. So often a chance remark about a piece of my work will start a whole new chain of thought.”
In 'Open the Box' in 2012, she did just this. One hundred boxes filled with treasures each placed, closed, on a shelf for the viewer to open and explore.
Her work has sometimes provoked strong reactions: from the horror expressed over her piece 'The Beast Within' to the tears that followed one elderly lady's recollection of the Victory Party she had attended as a young woman, on seeing Jill’s 'The Linen Chest'.
Recently, interested in the human passion for collecting, she enjoyed collaborating with fellow artist Bob Lamoon as part of Holder and Lamoon. Their show, 'The Essence of Memory' 2014, following their Artist’s Residency at the 'Beaney House of Art and Knowledge', Canterbury, was packed with comments and thoughts about the subject, all packaged in an odd juxtaposition of boot market finds, painting and sculpture. Both scholarly and humorous the show delighted visitors.
In 2015 she was involved in an artist lead show 'A Handful of Dust' in Margate; a hard hitting collection of new work by eight artists who wanted to raise awareness of the hundreds of thousands of children caught up in the adult world of war. This has set a precedent for much more serious work from Jill on a subject that still occupies her thoughts.
She rarely sells her work. For her it is all about the conversation.
Once asked in an interview “If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you when you arrive?” She replied
“Ah welcome Jill. I have just the studio for you, and the director of MOMA has been longing to meet you. He loves your work. We are planning a big show”.