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Holly is an Austin, TX based artist and painter who holds a BFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. Her oil and acrylic paintings explore how color relates to emotion and light as a representation of the soul or consciousness. She became a member of Contra/Common, an emerging artist nonprofit organization in November, 2021. Recent publications include Issue #150 of New American Paintings and Shoutout DFW.


Country of residence

United States (US)



Holly Cerna is a figure and landscape painter whose works explore the relationship between the temporary, tangible physical plane and the intangible, eternal metaphysical plane (spirit or energy) set in contemporary contexts. Her works depict the personal but universal experience of being alive. The subjects in her work emit a glowing inner light representing the soul, communicating how consciousness might appear if visible. Through color theory, contrast, saturation, and perspective, her work expresses her fascination with the human condition.

Holly’s paintings are characterized by the use of painting techniques of the Baroque Period while using alternative lighting and color to convey her subjects’ normally invisible mental and emotional states. The infusion of light during the Baroque and Renaissance Periods echoed the sentiments of the religions of the day. Her paintings convey a modernized take on spirituality, where our inner light represents the soul and our collective human experience is God. Her pieces comment on the aesthetic of everyday life and compare it to our “magical” inner world. She depicts daily life with subject matter in an atmosphere of transcendence. She tries to establish a connection between audience and subject by objectifying emotions or mental states and exposing the duality that develops through different interpretations.