Printmaker Eric Holch’s work synonymous with summertime

From July 12, 2012 article in the ‘Inquirer & Mirror’ –by Leland Rzepecki

Eric Holch, a Nantucket artist whose work has almost become synonymous with summertime on the island, makes his living by awakening the beauty within people’s memories. Holch, inspired by his own memories of Nantucket, has been making fine, detailed prints of island scenes, which have adorned collections of Nantucket-related art worldwide for over 30 years.

Holch’s passion for printmaking started at the age of 15 when he was given a print as a gift. He was struck by its sharp, distinctive look and although his early professional life eventually revolved around advertising, he would always retain his interest in art. When Holch started creating his own prints he drew from his memories of summers on Nantucket for inspiration. “(Nantucket is) beautiful,” he said. “You can always turn around and find something spectacular.”

His work has been displayed in various venues since 1976 during which time it has enjoyed international popularity and recognition from art lovers as far away as Australia and Japan. Holch started displaying his work on Nantucket in 1973 at the Main Street Gallery and later in different galleries on Old South Wharf, alongside the work of other artists. After many years of sporadic exposure at these galleries Holch decided he needed his own space to permanently display his work, and in 1993 converted a scallop-shucking shack on the Nantucket Boat Basin into the first Eric Holch Gallery. The current Eric Holch Gallery on Old South Wharf opened eight years ago and has been a continuing source of success and exposure for Holch and his work.

The current Eric Holch Gallery is home to Holch’s array of work including his famous prints in mounted, framed and poster form, nautically-themed silk ties and bowties and framed three-dimensional prints. The prints and posters present various scenes of Nantucket summers in eye-catching color and impressive detail, illustrating Holch’s dedication to the delicate printmaking process.

“You don’t see as many printmakers as you used to,” Holch said. “That makes (these prints) all the more distinctive.”

He also pointed out some of his newest work: prints on torn paper which convey a contrast between the sharp and the rough. In addition to the work available at the gallery, Holch also sells value-priced posters at , including five new designs for 2012.

Holch takes great pleasure is recounting his artistic history and the experience of running an art gallery. He is especially fond of the people he works with and the creative process allowed by running a seasonal business. During this season, which he jokingly calls “summer survival mode,” he puts his advertising experience to work running his business while finding inspiration for new prints to work on in the off-season. “There’s always something (on Nantucket) to be inspired by,” he said. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”