Reno artist Erik Holland has spent most of a week over the past several months plein air painting all over Eureka, self-described as “the Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America”. He is preparing for a one-man show that will open at the Court House Gallery there on Oct. 11, with an artist’s reception from 3 to 7 pm.
“I first saw Eureka in 1979 when I came west from Chicago and took US 50 across Nevada,” Holland says. “I was fascinated by everything I saw. I remember walking all around Eureka on that trip and thinking, ‘I’m going to live here some day’.”
Six years later Holland returned to Nevada after a sojourn in California and took a job as a reporter for the Battle Mountain Bugle. “I spent three months in Battle Mountain,” he says, “and that was enough for me to fall completely in love with Nevada.”
It has been a most rewarding love affair. As he devoted himself to painting Nevada, his reputation has grown. He was up early, home late, and painting every minute in between. “I painted 25 buildings in Austin,” he says, “and 25 buildings in Ely. Now it’s Eureka’s turn.”
“The people here have been amazingly friendly. I’ve been painting all over town and people come out of their homes and businesses to say hello, and see what I’m up to, and get to talking. There’s a welcoming attitude here that’s made my stay very pleasant.”
Holland studied art at the Art Students League of New York, and the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. He got his start selling paintings on the street in San Francisco, and painting murals in Alaska. He recently published his first book, Outback Cartoonist, supported by a grant by the Nevada Arts Council. He is the “mayor” of NadaDada Motel, during which artists rent motel rooms in Reno and make a show.
He markets his plein air and studio paintings through special events, galleries, and online. He offers workshops and classes, and teaches at Rainshadow Community Charter High School.