My discipline is composed of drawing-installations and book-works, exploring the bridges and boundaries between perception and fantasy, humans and other animals, deep time and the present. What we think about, remember and imagine has a powerful effect on how we perceive and experience, on what we believe and how we behave. This is what prevents me from dismissing the imaginary as completely unreal.
Over the last 15 years, I have amassed an enormous collection of paper – ranging in scale from postcards to murals – drawn, written, wrinkled and saturated with ink. Some are individual pieces unto themselves, some are pages for hand-bound books and zines, and some are garbage and debris. This material is reused within dense installation-environments, tailored to the architecture of the rooms that it occupies.
Though the content of my artwork ranges from the biological to the phantasmagorical, there is a persistent interest in human empathy for other species, and in the difficulty of fathoming deep time – the world millions of years ago, and the world ahead. The animals I contemplate most are the species that never existed, that no longer exist, and those that are on the brink of extinction. For example, I love dinosaurs because they are completely real and completely imaginary – they are monsters for real. This tension between what is real and imaginary, what once existed and no longer exists, is the uniting principle in all my work.
While gravely concerned by the realities of species loss, climate change, and violence against animals and environments, I continue to defend playfulness, the suspension of disbelief and the power of raw imagination. I hope my work will be a catalyst for discomfort with anthropocentric views of human supremacy. Just as fairytales have often served a cautionary function, my drawings of monsters and haunted places are situated in the inevitably lonesome futurity that awaits our species if we carry on with fundamentalism, war and ecocide.
Artist Bio / CV
Jim Holyoak is an Earthling, from the Kingdom Mammalia, and of the species homo sapiens. During the time he is not awake, he is dreaming. Although he is generally terrestrial, he often dreams of being a marine mammal. Sperm whales, for instance, have the largest brains of any Earthling, and they navigate by deep sea mountain ranges. Although cultural restraints usually require him to be diurnal, Holyoak also dreams of being a flying fox. When granted the opportunity, he has the tendency of staying up all night drinking nectar. Mainly, he requires oxygen, water, and vegetables to continue his activities. Although Holyoak suffers from a persistent sense of being lost, he also enjoys the wander. Due to his semi-predictable migratory patterns, one could safely guess that he's somewhere between the North Pacific coast, and the Isle of Montreal. This said, nobody, especially Holyoak, knows exactly where Holyoak is.