To see Stephen Holland at the edge of the ice, with his camera lens poking through a hole in the glass, during a Los Angeles King's hockey game, is a familiar sight. In 1989, Holland was named "Official Artist of the Kings." His art regularly appears on the covers of the King's "Game Night" magazine, while Kings' private offices at the Forum look like a one-man show of Stephen Holland's work.
Although Holland has painted hundreds of sports paintings for commissions, lithographs, serigraphs and commercial ventures, he is best known for his magnificent portrait of the World's Greatest Athlete "Muhammad Ali". Originally painted for the Silver Anniversary of the Victor Awards (honoring Ali as "Athlete of the Century"), the painting was soon selected by Ali's wife as the image to represent him for his 50th birthday party. Giant posters of the painting flanked the landmark Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood, as thousands attended Ali's televised tribute. A limited edition, fine art lithograph has been issued, each numbered and signed by Muhammed Ali and Stephen Holland.
What is it that first attracted Holland to painting sports? As a young painter, unable to afford live models, he drew from boxing magazines. There he saw the male form in all its power and glory, expressed as contemporary gladiator. Reading the articles in the magazines conveyed to him the determination and hard work that any athlete must have to be a winner. Holland found it an inspiration to himself as an artist to put as much discipline, devotion and determination into his own work, in order to express what both he and the athlete experience.
None of this came easy for Holland. As a child he was handicapped, and had to watch his family and friends play sports, while the steel brace he wore on his leg even prevented him from attending normal school. But handicaps often heighten one's sensitivity and talents may develop elsewhere. SoStephen Holland sat and sketched his friends. Though his mother used to say he began drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil, his talent actually blossomed while attending a special high school that devoted half of every day to art studies. Following that he attended the Art Students League, The School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute, all in New York City.
His talent and contribution to the field of art and sports received national recognition last year when the American Sport Art Museum and Archives awarded him the honor of 1993 Sports Artist of the Year.
Today Stephen Holland lives with his wife Nelle in their home/studio in Southern California. When not at various sports arenas, he is often found enjoying his friendship with foremost sports photographer, Robert Riger (from whose photos many of Holland's paintings are taken). Currently he is working diligently to produce a series of celebrity portraits to be printed as limited edition serigraphs, such as the newly released "Mark McGwire."
* Hollywood displayed his stunning, sensitive portrait of Muhammad Ali in mega-size posters for the televised tribute to a Great American Sports Hero. * Nike commissioned him to portray Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and the basketball stars of the U.S. Olympic Dream Team.
* The Los Angeles Kings hockey team has declared him their Official Artist.
* His original art and limited edition lithographs and serigraphs hang in galleries, sports arenas and private collections throughout America, Canada and the world.
* He was recently honored as Sports Artist of the Year by the American Sport Art Museum and Archives.
* He is Stephen Holland. He Sees the American Athlete with power and glory - a contemporary gladiator - and he transforms his vision into artistic legacies.
1955-58 High School of Art and Design, NYC
1958-61 Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
1961 The Art Students League, NYC
1962 The School of Visual Arts, NYC
HONORS & AWARDS
1989 Official Artist of the Los Angeles Kings
1990 Victor Awards, Silver Anniversary Artist
1993-94 Sports Artist of the Year, elected by the American Sport Art
Museum and Archives
1995-96 An Official Artist of the 1996 Olympics
1982 The Frameworks Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1984 The L. Nelson Gallery, Englewood, NJ
1985 Talk Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1988 Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1989-90 L.A. Art, The Sports Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1990-91 Sports & Entertainment Gallery, Venice, CA
1992 Gallerie Michelangelo, Las Vegas, NV
1993-96 Dyansen Galleries, San Francisco, Carmel, Beverly Hills, NYC, Boston, Atlantic City, New Orleans
1994 US Sport Art Museum & Archives, Daphne AL
1994 AAHPERD Convention, Denver, CO
1996 Fine Art Ltd., Atlanta, GA
1996 Millard Sheets Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1995-96-97 Art Expo, New York, NY
1995-96-97 Fingerhut Galleries: Sausalito, La Jolla, Laguna, CA and Edina, MN
1997 Trump Plaza, Atlantic City NJ
NIKE, Inc., Beaverton, OR
Los Angeles Kings, Inglewood, CA
The Magic Johnson Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
United Negro College Fund, Los Angeles, CA
B.B. O'Brien's, Palm Desert, CA
Baumer Corporation, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
F.E.L. Lands Corporation, Winterset, KA
The Framing Experience Ltd., Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Plantation Golf Resort, Jacksonville, FL
The Victor Awards, Santa Monica, CA
The American Sport Art Museum and Archives, Daphne, AL
The Robert Riger Foundation, New York, NY
Collectors International, Amsterdam
Field of Dreams, Inc. Palm Desert, CA
Robert Kaplan Advertising, New York, NY
The Raimbault Collection, Paris
Pepsi Cola Corporation, Indianapolis IN
Private (partial list)
Waylon Jennings, Nashville,TN
Lonnie & Muhammad Ali, Berrien Springs, MI
Charles Dutton, Los Angeles, CA
Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles, CA
Dustin Hoffman, Los Angeles, CA
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles, CA
Bruce McNall, Los Angeles, CA
Mark Messier, New York, NY
Rob Moor, President Minnesota Timberwolves
Adam Oates, Boston, MA
Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando, FL
Walter Payton, Chicago, IL
The Pointer Sisters, Los Angeles, CA
Burt Reynolds, Studio City, CA
Luc Robitaille, Sherman Oakes, CA
Vigota, Motown Records, Los Angeles, CA
PRAISE FOR STEPHEN HOLLAND
"Holland is America's most aesthetically successful sports artist. Rather than merely illustrating as most sports artists do, Holland weds his interpretive style to a popular subject matter. Look at his virtuoso brushwork--confident, lively,organic and yet exacting--a lot like jazz music. In fact, it is painterly technique that makes Holland's work more artistic and in my view more original than those whose work, great as it may be, resembles photojournalism rather than true painting."
- Michael Miller, National Sales Manager, Dyansen Galleries Inc.
"Stephen Holland is a painter with courage. He has an exceptional understanding of form and substance and in his realism he often uses the athlete as his subject. His canvas is large and immediate and the presence he achieves is enduring. Flesh is form; gesture is character. Walk into a room with one of his portraits and you are committed to observe. Each time in the silence you see more. Enjoy more. You share the emotional impact."
- Robert Riger, Sports Photographer, author of eleven books on sports, nine time Emmy award winner.
"Stephen Holland's outstanding artwork is a fresh and exciting edition to Nike's past and present product offering. Response has been exceptional. Stephen has a wonderful sense of style and design, combined with superb talent and working with him is as exciting experience."
- Ken Black, Nike, Inc., Beaverton, OR
"The first thing I noticed about Stephen Holland's work is that his subjects are alive! He really captures personalities. I'm not at all a sports fan but I knew exactly who they were. What I love about his paintings is that he allows the inner person to come through both of his subjects and himself."
- Mila Andre, New York Daily News