Mason Holcomb
Mason Holcomb
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Nevers

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No

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Maybes

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Far

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Fear

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Embrace

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Spiral

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Union

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Distance

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Promise

About Mason Holcomb

Mason Holcomb was born in Birmingham Alabama in 1995 and raised in the northeast corner of the state. Upon completing high school with multiple art awards including a year-long art exhibit in the nation’s capitol building, Mason went on to pursue art as a career.

For the better part of the past decade, Mason’s primary goals have been to cultivate the arts in his community and to develop his own skill set as a professional artist. He did the former during his time as the Executive Director of MountainValley Arts Council (MVAC) from 2014-2019, a small nonprofit art gallery in Guntersville AL. There Mason learned how to curate, run a business, and engage with the community. He did this while seeking his BFA in Painting from Jacksonville State University, which provided ample growth for him as an artist. At JSU, Mason was given a great opportunity to sharpen his craft in an environment that never failed to push him in the right direction. After completing his degree, Mason has gone on to teach elementary art to roughly six-hundred students ranging from first grade through sixth. Where running a nonprofit art gallery instilled in Mason a sense of empathy, teaching has brought forth patience.

Through exhibits, lectures, and workshops, MVAC gave him the chance to work with a diverse array of artists from all across the country. This left Mason with an indelible lesson: art cannot thrive without a community and communities cannot without art.

Teaching has been equally as important to shaping who Mason is. It has required another round of expanding boundaries. He learned how to not just be in charge of developing his own craft, but the craft of hundreds of children. Mason understands not every child will become an artist, but his goal while teaching was to walk out his classroom realizing that every aspect of society is enabled through art and design.

Mason’s work has been exhibited across Alabama through his solo exhibit “Vignettes” at MVAC in 2016, a permanent installation at The Guntersville Museum installed in 2019, his solo exhibit “Reify” at The Gadsden Museum of Art in 2020,and numerous juried/group exhibitions.

Painting routinely offers me an immediate outlet for the ideas I struggle to convey with words. As my skill set has expanded, my focus has shifted towards crafting dialogues through visual storytelling. In many ways, my work centers on haptics -on what you can and can’t hold in the palm of your hand. A common theme that can be found throughout is tactility. Whether it be the subject, as many of my paintings feature hands, or through material such as stretched velvet, touch is at the forefront of most of my work. I find that body language, especially that communicated by a hand, is infinitely expressive and can regularly convey more meaning than words. Because of this, my art is representational with a relatively strict adherence to some form of realism. Rather than dwell on setting, I rely on color to loosely define general moods or themes I want conveyed.

Reducing societal and personal concepts down to objects small enough to be held in a hand forces a maximum amount of symbolism and ambiguity into a limited set of visual elements, streamlining my communicative process. That same ambiguity has tempered not only my relationships but also altered my ways of expression as a queer artist in the rural south. Crafting these gray areas of expression in my work has allowed me to find a way to safely interact with and fulfill that longing to connect with other queer people. This longing for connection has bled, both consciously and subconsciously, into my art making it intrinsically tied to my identity as a queer man.

My work is primarily done in acrylic, oil, and watercolor, but in addition to traditional 2D paintings, my focus is often on3D clay sculpture, mixed-media, and Augmented Reality (AR). AR is a tool that utilizes mobile device cameras, gyroscopes, and LiDar to scan, recognize, and display additional information that can take the form of video backgrounds, still image overlays, or entire aesthetic remodels of analog paintings. The incorporation of AR adds a further layer of immersion to my work while pushing the boundaries of what experiencing art can be.

About the art

Mason Holcomb was born in Birmingham Alabama in 1995 and raised in the northeast corner of the state. Upon completing high school with multiple art awards including a year-long art exhibit in the nation’s capitol building, Mason went on to pursue art as a career.

For the better part of the past decade, Mason’s primary goals have been to cultivate the arts in his community and to develop his own skill set as a professional artist. He did the former during his time as the Executive Director of MountainValley Arts Council (MVAC) from 2014-2019, a small nonprofit art gallery in Guntersville AL. There Mason learned how to curate, run a business, and engage with the community. He did this while seeking his BFA in Painting from Jacksonville State University, which provided ample growth for him as an artist. At JSU, Mason was given a great opportunity to sharpen his craft in an environment that never failed to push him in the right direction. After completing his degree, Mason has gone on to teach elementary art to roughly six-hundred students ranging from first grade through sixth. Where running a nonprofit art gallery instilled in Mason a sense of empathy, teaching has brought forth patience.

Through exhibits, lectures, and workshops, MVAC gave him the chance to work with a diverse array of artists from all across the country. This left Mason with an indelible lesson: art cannot thrive without a community and communities cannot without art.

Teaching has been equally as important to shaping who Mason is. It has required another round of expanding boundaries. He learned how to not just be in charge of developing his own craft, but the craft of hundreds of children. Mason understands not every child will become an artist, but his goal while teaching was to walk out his classroom realizing that every aspect of society is enabled through art and design.

Mason’s work has been exhibited across Alabama through his solo exhibit “Vignettes” at MVAC in 2016, a permanent installation at The Guntersville Museum installed in 2019, his solo exhibit “Reify” at The Gadsden Museum of Art in 2020,and numerous juried/group exhibitions.

Painting routinely offers me an immediate outlet for the ideas I struggle to convey with words. As my skill set has expanded, my focus has shifted towards crafting dialogues through visual storytelling. In many ways, my work centers on haptics -on what you can and can’t hold in the palm of your hand. A common theme that can be found throughout is tactility. Whether it be the subject, as many of my paintings feature hands, or through material such as stretched velvet, touch is at the forefront of most of my work. I find that body language, especially that communicated by a hand, is infinitely expressive and can regularly convey more meaning than words. Because of this, my art is representational with a relatively strict adherence to some form of realism. Rather than dwell on setting, I rely on color to loosely define general moods or themes I want conveyed.

Reducing societal and personal concepts down to objects small enough to be held in a hand forces a maximum amount of symbolism and ambiguity into a limited set of visual elements, streamlining my communicative process. That same ambiguity has tempered not only my relationships but also altered my ways of expression as a queer artist in the rural south. Crafting these gray areas of expression in my work has allowed me to find a way to safely interact with and fulfill that longing to connect with other queer people. This longing for connection has bled, both consciously and subconsciously, into my art making it intrinsically tied to my identity as a queer man.

My work is primarily done in acrylic, oil, and watercolor, but in addition to traditional 2D paintings, my focus is often on3D clay sculpture, mixed-media, and Augmented Reality (AR). AR is a tool that utilizes mobile device cameras, gyroscopes, and LiDar to scan, recognize, and display additional information that can take the form of video backgrounds, still image overlays, or entire aesthetic remodels of analog paintings. The incorporation of AR adds a further layer of immersion to my work while pushing the boundaries of what experiencing art can be.