You never know how Holly “Treble” Stigen’s passions for music, photography, community and the environment are going to fuse. She’s never afraid to mix things up in fresh, unexpected ways. Consistently taking on new creative challenges, she’s a self-taught artist with an entrepreneurial spirit and generous nature. Mindful introspection keeps Treble focused on creating artwork that feels authentic to her while resonating with those who experience its captivating harmonies.
Treble has a unique ability to connect visual and tangible elements with people in the community who inspire her. Her art offers beckons interaction, with engaging opportunities that include her wearable art, vinyl record paint-and-spin demos, and reimagined assemblages using materials and lyrics from other local creatives. With Art by Treble, you feel the artist’s love for her supportive community which provides encouragement to continually allow her creative wings to fly where they may.
Our Interview with Treble
What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative is taking an idea and bringing it to its more tangible form whether it be through visual art, music, dance, theater, comedy, literature, fashion, culinary, etc. There are so many ways to express oneself and I think everyone has some creativity they may not even be aware of.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely wanted to do?
The first time I re-imagined a photo in my early-40s. That excitement of how it came together brought me such satisfaction and surprise in this new way I could explore my creative side.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I like to listen to music while I create, some of my favorite pieces came from that ritual. I tend to work in series and then move on from the series to explore other ideas. It all starts with a photo I took while on a walk or on a drive. Then I bring it to my computer and "play" with editing until I'm happy with what I've created. There are some pieces that I worked on for hours and involved multiple editing programs and effects and others that I only needed to adjust the saturation, light, or contrast. Ideas come to me and then I figure it out through experimenting, online research and advice from other artists. For my current series of recycled record and cd art it started with a photograph of a flower and grew from there. It took me about a year and half to come up with the concept. It was a lot of trial and error and I'm still learning but I'm enjoying this current journey.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created and why?
Any time I can collaborate with a local musician is fantastic! I loved working on my Songs series where I paired lyrics from local (and some favorite visitors) musicians with my images. To connect on that level addressed both my musician side and my artist side.
What are you trying to communicate or express with your art?
I've been a musician for most of my life so I try to connect music and art. I strive to create statement pieces. I love looking at album art at record stores. The records that make use of strong color or striking monochrome always caught my attention the most. Because my goal is to connect with music and visual art I make pieces that could be use as album covers. (and two images have been used as cd covers by local musicians) That's why I chose the square format and use that eye catching color or high contrast black and white. I am currently working in assemblage using recycled records and CDs to further explore connecting these two art forms.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I've just started working in assemblage and paint and am excited to explore that further. I would like to do some 3-dimensional pieces and have a recycled amp and a student snare drum to work with in the near future.
What’s the best advice you have ever received in relation to your art?
I've always struggled with pricing. Someone recently reminded me that my time has a value to it. Make sure to factor that in on top of the cost of materials.
What advice would you give a young or new artist who is just starting out?
Even though I'm 50, the current creative path I'm on didn't start until 3 years ago. In my early 40s I had shown at a couple of Art on the Towns with black and white photography but I wasn't feeling it creatively so I took a couple years off to regroup. I think taking that time to discover who I was as an artist really helped me. When I was ready, I put myself out there and connected with some really amazing people who believe in me and kept me going. So, my advice would be to never give up, it's not too late, and to put yourself out there. Any time you have opportunities to talk to the public about your art at receptions or shows do so!
What’s the best thing about being an artist in Northeast Wisconsin?
Artists and musicians in this area take time to support each other. It's truly a community!