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Dan Hooker: Finding His Own Artistic Style


When you walk into the studio you'll usually see everyone working on something different. There might be a brand new artist sitting next to someone who has been taking classes for years. We're able to do this because we teach to the individual, and because of this style of teaching, we welcome all skill levels into our classes. It also means that some of our students have started their artistic journey already. One example of that is Dan Hooker, who has been attending classes at Holt School for two years now. We talked to Dan about his experience, and how Holt School is helping him continue learning while finding his own artistic style.


Throughout his life, there was always art, and at a young age he started with drawing. "As a grade schooler, I was a big fan of Godzilla movies and the band Kiss. So I drew epic Godzilla battle scenes as well as many pictures from Kiss albums and rock magazines." He also took a few art classes in high school, where he learned to paint in acrylics and oils. "It wasn't until my wife and I were expecting that I really caught the art bug. We decided not to know the sex of our child and wanted to do a Dr. Suess theme nursery. I painted scenes from Horton hears a Who, Thing One and Thing Two, Cat in the Hat, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. After getting positive feedback on the nursery murals, I quit my corporate job and started a mural and faux finish painting business."


Dan's creative business lasted 10 years and during that time he was still working towards honing his artistic skills. "I continued to take art/mural classes; one of which was a 10-day workshop in Italy, where I learned portrait and figure painting as well as trompe-l'oel techniques." After re-entering the corporate world, he still found time to take art classes and practice in his free time.



When Dan started classes at Holt School in 2022, he started focusing more on landscapes. "In my oil paintings, I'm trying to be more suggestive in my application, which is opposite of what I usually do in charcoal/graphite as they are more realistic and detailed." Dan is in our Advanced classes and we often teach new skills through small paintings or "studies," which help our artists pick up new techniques quickly. "The Holt School offers great instruction in a fun learning environment. I really enjoy doing the quick/warm up small studies that Nick incorporates in the weekly classes." With his thirst for knowledge, it's not surprising that he rises to all our challenges, no matter the style, and even shared that painting abstract landscapes in class was a favorite project for him.



Right now, Dan still feels like he is in the early stages of his artistic journey, and hopes to start selling more of his work. "I've learned so much from my weekly classes and feel like I'm finding my artistic style." For us, it's incredibly rewarding to hear that we are helping him find his creative voice and we are happy Dan chose to continue his journey at Holt School. While we aren't seeing his work in galleries yet, he does sell his art and has participated in our annual art show for the past two years. We hope to share more of Dan's work with you in the future!


Want to follow Dan's creative journey?

Find him on Instagram @ dhooker_art

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