Art&Culture, Community


Holly Frean, hundreds of dogs, and the artist’s talent to make them sing.



When British visual artist Holly Frean builds her ark, you can bet we’ll be there. The guestlist is our kind of crowd: blue bears, cute pandas, cultured pigs, self-assured gorillas—a real who’s who of the animal kingdom—and, of course, dogs. Our heaven sent, dearly beloved, desperately devoted goofballs reveal themselves as Frean’s favourite subjects. In 2018, the artist held her first solo exhibition, Holly’s Ark, featuring her now trademark ink-on-paper animals. Crowded into the frame, rows upon rows of curious beasts peer out at the viewer, beseeching us to throw a treat their way (or at least that’s what it looks like).“Dogs have taken over my studio this past couple of years,” says Frean. It’s a happy consequence of various exhibitions in which the artist has been invited to show. Each dog jockeying for prime position has worked hard to get there. “It’s more of a challenge to find multiple different ways to communicate ‘dog’ by swapping medium or brushes or palettes. The best bit is the edit phase, where I arrange the best studies into a grid comprising 50 or 100 dogs until I have a ‘Yes!’ moment. This is when I sense that all the dogs in the picture work together, everything is in balance, the dogs are all talking to one another, all the characters are weighted correctly, colours and tones serve a purpose and the whole thing sings.” A crowd of adorable dogs talking to each other? Where do we sign?

Holly Frean’s latest print, Dog Rainbow No.3, is raising funds from the NHS Together Charities and the RSPCA. Available to purchase from The Holly Frean Shop

Upcoming shows
Green&Stone Gallery, London, November 2021
Goodwood Kennels, West Sussex, May 2022
The Dog Show with Sally Muir and Jo Osbourne, Brighton, May 2022

All artwork courtesy of Holly Frean



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