Written by Emily Glaser | Photos by Anthony Harden
Christopher Holt on Reviving an Art Form—and a Community
Christopher Holt is a rarity in Western North Carolina: a native. “Often when I meet people now and they learn that I was born here at Mission Hospital, they are surprised and say things like, ‘Wow! You’re the first person I’ve met who’s actually from here!,’” the artist says with a laugh. “There’s a lot of nostalgia in looking back even 10 years ago and thinking, ‘I loved Asheville back when,’ and so on.” It’s this sentimentality for the way things were and a respect for the past that seems to define the artist today.
Raised in Haywood County, Holt began painting and drawing in childhood before studying art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). While at UNC, Holt became engaged in the concepts of storytelling through art, particularly through the works of mentor and Native American artist Kimowan Metchewais. After college, he went south to study ancient sites like Copan in Honduras and Chichen Itza in Mexico, where he also discovered the fresco paintings of Diego Rivera.
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