Hollis Noonan

Class of 2021

Hollis creates work about their perception of their environment. As a nonbinary queer person, they see very little representation of themself in the arts and in media. Although there has been a movement of casually queer art moving through the country (as seen in various media, e.g.: the Netflix original Sex Education, the movie Moonlight, the podcast Spines), casual queerness is not common in the mind of the average American. Their art is meant as a representation of queer culture and their background as an individual. Each piece was created organically, without the end in mind. They use bright colors, loud textures, and the colors of the rainbow to emphasize the queer nature of their art, as well as images and objects that they have collected over the years to reflect their personal history and interests, as well as to appeal to a wider audience. 

The Mantis is a self-portrait, as indicated through the process of the piece which evolved as it was being created Hollis made many small choices (and mistakes) along the way that later defined the piece: whether to keep the texture consistent across the piece or to experiment with multiple textures; how to divide the colors amongst the different segments of the mantis; spilling water on the paper causing the ink to bleed. They also believe that it is reflective of their experience creating it as a disabled person. They spent hours upon hours working on the floor, which intensified the chronic pain in their spine. Rather than spend days at a time painstakingly filling every box and stressing about the pain and how long it would take to recover, they chose to change the art. This was also done to protect their mental health, reducing stress and anxiety. The Mantis is about self-love, and prioritizing health and happiness above strict preconceived ideas. 

See more of Hollis' work here.

Photo of artwork by SU student Hollis Noonan installed in the Vachon Gallery

The MantisV7 Precise pen, marker, and ink wash on watercolor paper, 2020