We had the good fortune of connecting with Holly Hixson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Holly, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I’m inspired by cities and people! I grew up in a small town and I always wanted to see different places around the world and when I first had the opportunity to travel I became so enthralled watching life unfold around me. Now for many years one of my favorite things to do is to sit in cafes or restaurant, or in a park or public space and just watch people interact with each other and their surroundings. I love the dance of movement that happens in cities, especially in cities like Montreal where I live, there is such vibrant street life and always something to catch your eye. Once you train yourself to look closer at the details of buildings and storefronts and streets, you get inspired and it gives you an appreciation for anywhere you are.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I have been so thankful to have my art resonate with so many lovely people over the years! I began by drawing the architecture that I was seeing while traveling around Europe and transitioned into creating custom ink and watercolor drawings and selling prints based on specific cities. At first I wasn’t sure if my funky style would resonate with others but it’s been a fun to experiment drawing houses, schools, wedding venues, cabins, even floral bouquets, and to create something really special and unique for someone that they will cherish. I have also learned so much about entrepreneurship, it can be so complicated to figure out your market, how to get in front of new clients, packaging and shipping, social media, and it’s really a fail-and-learn process over and over. One lesson I’ve learned is that you should never underestimate word of mouth! Selling on online platforms can really cost you as an artist in order to connect you with new customers, and truly the best way to connect with new people is to get a glowing review or reference from someone who already has and loves something you’ve created!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh I love to show people around my city! If you come to Montreal you absolutely need to be ready to eat, drink, and wander around aimlessly. I would definitely start with a walk around the neighborhood, stopping into cafes to get fresh pastries and coffee, popping into La Maison du Rôti to pick up cheese and charcuterie for a sunny park picnic or poke bowls from M. Ramen (the best!). Of course, we would be biking around the city, getting craft beer at Bar Alexandraplatz, Réservoir, or Dieu du Ciel, and hiking up Mont Royal. There are so many neighborhoods to explore, notably the Old Montreal, which is the historic part of the city with cobblestone streets and grand old buildings, biking along the canal to the Atwater market which is so picturesque and lively, and eating fresh bagels and checking out Drogheria Fine, an incredible fresh gnocchi walk up window in the Mile End.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Absolutely! I want to shout out my family for being constant sources of support and inspiration throughout my life. My mom especially has encouraged me to explore every opportunity and taught me to be a problem solver above all else. My dad, mom, and sister have given me confidence to follow my heart every step of the way and I’m so thankful to have them!