“I create for that innocent little boy in the balcony who has come to the theater for the first time. He wants to see magic, so I want to give him magic. He sees things that his father couldn’t see.”Geoffrey Holder, Dance Magazine 2010
Dancer, actor, 7Up icon, costume designer, Tony Award winner, cookbook writer, Geoffrey Holder was a jack of all trades and a master of all. What I didn’t appreciate about the performer was that he was also an accomplished painter. Holder used painting as a creative outlet that augmented his other artistic pursuits.
According to the New York Times, after arriving in New York from Trinidad, in the 1950’s, “Mr. Holder promptly made two debuts, one as an actor in Truman Capote’s “House of Flowers,” the other as a painter having his first major exhibition. All the same, he says in his catalogue essay that he never wanted to be known as ‘an actor/dancer who paints.’”
Despite this, his work has shown at the Corcoran Gallery, the Guggenheim, the Studio Museum and CAAM among other institutions and galleries. This beautiful photo taken of Holder with his son was what prompted me to learn more about Holder’s love for painting and his dedication to many forms of art continues to inspire.
Some of Geoffrey Holder’s work is currently on view in CAAM’s PST: LA/LA exhibition called Circles and Circuits. The show ends February 25th.