Glen Cove artist Peter Holden is passionate about his work. Each of his paintings and sculptures, now on view at his gallery on School Street, conveys part of a story, which he is happy to share with visitors. The exhibition opened on Aug. 13, providing an opportunity for people to view the original artwork on display.
Holden, 62, owns the space previously occupied by T-Mobile, and said that, rather than having an empty storefront, he would prefer to see it filled with art -- at least until he can rent out the space again. After years of working as an independent contractor doing art renovations and restorations, as well as helping with his wife’s business, GLY Religious Store, also on School Street, Holden returned to his creative side this year. In a short period of time, he has a produced an abundance of unique paintings and sculptures that fill the space with bright colors and striking images.
Originally from Holland, Holden began painting as a child and went to the art academy in Utrecht. He gave up art for awhile and started his own company, but then “a bunch of negative stuff started to happen,” including the death of his father and a break-up. These events brought him back to painting again around age 30, he said, and he went to Paris with only a few thousand dollars to his name to find his “niche.” Unfortunately, he said, the art jobs available were too commercial, including painting portraits of tourists. “I didn’t want to do that," he said, "because I felt I had more to offer."
A friend offered him a job in the import/export business, which required a move to Geneva, then to Germany and finally, to New York City. He didn’t expect to stay, he said, but he fell in love and got married. He moved to Glen Cove in 1990.
Now, after about 30 years of building his own business and focusing on his family, while his wife, Liz, handles the operation of GLY, he wanted to start his own creative entity. “This year I decided it was time for me to start painting again,” he said. “There was something brewing inside of me that said, now is the time.”
Once he had that inspiration, he said, he needed to express himself on canvas. He makes his own frames, and incorporates them into his art to create movement on the canvas.
“The canvas is an integral part of my artwork,” he said, “and the frame belongs to the art.”
About his process, he said, he begins paintings based on a feeling and an image inside him. “Sometimes I just feel the urge…it speaks to me.
“I always want to paint with a meaning,” he added. “There’s always some symbolism behind the person or message. For me, I’m a connective person, I love people and I’m not afraid of people. I want everybody to be happy. When I see someone unhappy, it makes me unhappy, because I’m an emotional person. And I put that emotion into my art.”
Holden is generally in the back of the gallery at 32 School St. painting every day, he said. While he does not leave the front door unlocked, anyone interested in viewing the art can call the number on the door and he will let them view his creations.