Holly Frean

figurative painting

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Holly Frean is an award-winning artist whose practice incorporates a range of mediums, from oil paintings on canvas to printmaking. Her imagination and versatility have recently led to coveted textile, ceramic and wallpaper collaborations with Burberry, Paul Smith and US clothing and retail brand Anthropologie.

Holly Frean began her formal training as an architect and draughtsman but painting portraits took over and she graduated in Fine Art/Painting at City & Guilds of London Art School in 2002. Her practice has since grown to include picture-making in all its forms, typically oil paintings on canvas and gouaches on paper, also printmaking and 3D work. Infused with wit and humour, Holly paints on unusual surfaces (cardboard squares, paper plates, wooden shapes). Her recent solo exhibition 'Who's Counting’ at Paul Smith’s flagship store in London’s Mayfair included paintings, mobiles and artists’ palettes cast in bronze.

Holly Frean first exhibited with Zimmer Stewart Gallery in 2006 and has since exhibited extensively in the UK, America and Europe.

In May 2020 Zimmer Stewart Gallery collaborated with The Kennels at Goodwood on 'Dog', an exhibition of 18 paintings inspired by the rich canine heritage at Goodwood and two coincide with 'Goodwoof'.

In 2012 Frean was asked by Fabergé to decorate and donate a giant painted egg for The Big Egg Hunt, a charity auction which helped raise over £1m for Action For Children. Another of Holly’s eggs was later sold in support of the British Hen Welfare Trust.

An invitation in 2014 to collaborate on a range of ceramics for US cult brand, Anthropologie, led to a quirky and extremely popular series of eight chicken-themed plates - and a sell-out solo exhibition of paintings at their Kings Road store in Chelsea, London. A further tableware range was commissioned the following year on the theme of farm animals, and included tea towels and other products sold worldwide.

In 2016 Holly Frean was invited to collaborate with British interior design house, Andrew Martin, on a stunning collection of wallpapers and fabrics based on the imagery in her paintings. In the same year she launched a set of her own fine bone china side plates entitled 'Holly's Ark', in collaboration with Heraldic Pottery, Stoke on Trent.

In the same year, Frean was invited by The New Craftsmen to set up a temporary painting studio inside Burberry’s HQ during London Fashion Week as their ‘in-house’ portrait artist; Frean worked in a specially made gabardine tent for a week painting ‘ancestral portrait studies’ of Burberry’s visitors, who dressed in swathes of fabric and extravagant paper ruffs, posing on a high stool for the artist.

Having developed a unique and technically accomplished style over the past decade, Holly Frean has work in many private, public and corporate collections. She has been commissioned by the Duchess of Northumberland, designer Betty Jackson CBE, Paul Smith CBE, Kit Kemp MBE, Alan Duncan MP, comedians Russell Howard, Ricky Gervais and Lee Evans, actor Russell Tovey, clothing retailer Johnnie Boden and Lord Mervyn of Abersoch.

Holly Frean has been the recipient of numerous accolades including the 2012 National Open Art Competition Painting Prize awarded by Grayson Perry (2012). She has had work selected for ING Discerning Eye (2012, 2015 & 2016) and regularly shows at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.