Rubinski Works — MADISON HOLLER
Madison Holler is the artist behind Rubinski Works, the online and pop-up shop that sells her painted porcelain wearables, peyote beadwork jewelry and unique art prints. When the Minnesota native was a child her parents encouraged and guided her artistic skills. In the forest her father would challenge her to draw using only available resources such as dirt, birch bark or the soot from the burned end of a stick. At the beach they would draw in the sand just to learn to let go when a wave washed their hard work away. Her mother was also a passionate maker and practiced many trades such as Pysansky-Ukrainian Egg dying, loom work and wood carving. While these were fun childhood activities, in a sense Madison has been an artist in training since birth and her talents now cover a wide range of mediums. As an adult the precious childhood bond with her father began to disintegrate due to the tragic affects of alcoholism and addiction. A massive heart attack led to a major decline in his mental and physical health but a glimmer of his past self shines through during rehabilitation with art therapists. This experience affected her desire to share with others the joy of art, she regularly participates in art charities and hosts learning workshops. Her love for creating is reflected in her aesthetic, which projects a feeling of openness and peace through clean, sophisticated design and refreshing colors.
Tell us about how and why you started your company Rubinski Works?
Rubinski Works doesn’t feel to have had a definite ‘start’ date for me. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and creatives, and have always been making and selling art. My earliest sale was probably in the first grade when I would sell original beady buddy patterns to my fellow students for a dollar. I was selling art as a young adult in various forms, but for the moment I considered myself as a career artist was my first pop up event at the 2013 Walker Jewelry Mart. ‘Rubinski’ was my fathers nickname for me, ‘Mugzerubinski’ to be exact, which was later in life boiled down to ‘Mugz’ ‘Rubinski’ or ‘Ruby’. No matter how hard we poked and prodded, there was never an explanation for this unconventional name giving.
Your skills cover graphic design, screen-printing, photography and jewelry just to name a few. Why do you think you are drawn to so many different mediums & what drives you to make time to create?
I have always found it difficult to narrow my practice to one medium. If I am capable of loving so many art forms, why shouldn’t I be equally capable of performing as many? My father and Mother are both artists who practiced multiple trades and therefore led me on my exploration of art at a young age, never lingering too long on one medium or skill. My father taught me all he knew about photography and drawing, and my mother did the same with beading and painting. In attaining my BFA I was also allotted time and resources to dabble in things like screen-printing and ceramics, which I have adopted into my business. I feel as though to be a one-woman show and self-reliant artist, it can’t hurt to have a diverse skill set.
You’ve hosted teaching workshops, donated art to charity and been a part of art fairs. How has being involved in your local community affected your business?
I love workshops and teaching! The more people I can share a new art, craft or trade with, the more fulfilled I am as a person and artist. Charitable affairs are very important to my creative process as well. I have been gifted the license to do what I love for a living and have faced health, cultural, and financial struggles myself and within my family. I strive to find charities and causes I support in my community and abroad to donate proceeds or time to that which have touched or impacted my experiences. They say there are no selfless good deeds, and this I know to be true! The more I give and participate, the more wonderful people I meet and the more I am known, which goes to show it pays to be giving. The local fairs and events also have really connected me in my artistic community in central Minnesota. Being an art lover alone is one thing, but stepping out of my comfort zone of online sales and setting up trunk shows and events in person made a world of difference in my networking and following.
Your beautiful bead & porcelain works reflect a sophisticated aesthetic and refreshing pops of color. How did you develop your style?
Over the years my color choices and patterning has evolved several times. My color scheme starting out was very neutral and natural. Color at first felt unnecessary to me, and almost intimidating. This is similar to those who learn to draw or paint in black and white before graduating to color. For me it was to gain confidence in the technical skills alone beforeand mechanics of beadwork before trusting my skills with color. I find a lot of inspiration in native American, African and Aztec beadwork styles and color practices, which I think shows in my pieces. All of these beadwork styles have explicit meanings behind the coloring and I take the history of color theory into consideration when assembling my color palettes. Often I will struggle with what palette to use and I will perform little surveys throughout my day such as asking everyone I encounter ‘What is your mood?’ and compile the results into a color theory to match, acquiring a new color scheme from the answers.
In your Transmogrify drawing series, life and death are entwined and decay appears beautiful. What inspired this project?
I began the Transmogrify series in 2015, I have always loved creating highly detailed drawings and this series was born from a fascination with metamorphosis and decomposing. These works explore themes of vulnerability, isolation, violence, powerlessness, and deceit. The women in my drawings, while appearing contented, display subtle cues implying possible transgressions. There is a willing helplessness in the figures, making it all the more serene. The forever still corpses are interrupted by the silent movements from creatures and insects.
What challenges have you faced as an artist and how did you overcome them?
Apart from the rocky start I had in deciding to become a professional artist, due to my need for medical benefits and a steady job, I suffer from ‘artist block’ so to speak once in a while. This most often is just regarding one medium at a time. This is another reason I have so many projects brewing at once. I struggle also with endings; things like saying goodbye or finishing a good book have never been my strengths. By having so many irons in the fire I never am actually unmotivated, completely.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process, how do you learn new skills? Do your completed projects usually turn out how you expected?
I am always eager to learn a new trade. I do so by taking classes, workshops, attending artist talks and seminars- basically any opportunity I see, I participate. Nothing is ever exactly how I envision it in the end, but if it were, I would find that awfully dull! I never make sketches and I never make beadwork patterns. I work completely intuitively, this way even I am delighted in the results, whether they turn out as intended or not. My process is quite different from medium to medium, usually inspiration strikes and I have to stop everything I am doing and make it in that moment. Those pieces are usually the ones I enjoy best.
What excites you most about creating your work?
The ability to make someone else find something precious that I conceived and fabricated is always a high for me. I have a lot of passion for what I do and It’s always rewarding to have acknowledgement that it wasn’t all for naught.