Boom: An interview with Roger Holtom

‘Vecchia Fattoria’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.
‘Vecchia Fattoria’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.

Featuring a collection of playful, experimental and abstract artworks by Roger Holtom, ‘Boom’ is now open at Fiumano Clase.

The artist, who’s been friends with the gallery’s owners Francesca Fiumano and Andrés Clase for a long time, says, “this is officially my debut show with Fiumano Clase… and I can’t wait.”

At the heart of this exhibition is an artistic sense of freedom and play.

“I personally don’t ever have any desire to study or intellectualise a painting – at least not on the first encounter,” Holtom says. “What I’m looking for from a work is a visceral, one-on-one experience.

“And when there is an element of play evident in an artwork, for me it’s like an invitation to simply relax and enjoy the experience which it offers.”

With this experiential, playful quality in the exhibition, ‘Boom’ highlights the connections and relationships between visitors and artworks. “When a painting has a sense of play – a lightness of touch, let’s say – it allows one to make friends with it.”

‘Benevolence’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.
‘Benevolence’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.

The creation process of the exhibition’s mixed-media artworks is largely instinctive. While each work simply “starts with a mark”, the paintings progress by following where Holtom’s creativity and artistic eye takes them.

“I almost never have an idea in mind that is then brought to fruition in a linear manner,” he says.

“But I’m constantly looking for ways of controlling… the feelings and forms which are set into motion by my spontaneous gestures and experimental initiatives.”

Roger, as a cellist, approaches painting with a musical background, and he considers the emotional impacts of visual art and music to be closely linked.

“I often get obsessive about a song or a piece of music in much the same way as I do about my paintings,” he says. But, interestingly, he adds, “the two tend to remain as separate experiences for me.

‘Lady’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.
‘Lady’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.

“I rarely paint with music playing at the same time – I think I’m concerned that it would impose an external structure, distracting me from the subtle factors at work within the process of painting.”

With the strong emphasis on instinctive, experiential creativity throughout the exhibition, Roger hopes for visitors to feel fully immersed in his artworks when visiting ‘Boom’; he wants his work to make an explosively memorable impact.

“I remember someone once saying that they would be most gratified if a viewer was to vomit in response to their work,” he says. “I don’t expect that to happen, thankfully, but I like the sentiment, highlighting as it does the importance of a genuine, visceral response.

‘Koi’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.
‘Koi’, Roger Holtom. Fiumano Clase.

“I would like people to leave with a sense of having had a dynamic encounter with a part of themselves which doesn’t normally come to the surface; of having been transported outside the realms of what they know and understand.

“And to feel that they have somehow touched upon the great mystery of being alive.”


‘Boom’ runs till 19 October 2018. To find out more, visit Fiumano Clase’s website: https://www.fiumanoclase.com