"Some artists look outwards and draw and paint what their eyes show them, they see landscapes, portraits' and everyday things. Others look inwards and allow their mind to picture worlds full of wizards, monsters or fantasies. Inside my mind, I hear the call of an old mournful animal. A long lost creature who once showed my distant ancestors the world through bestial instincts. This creature has been passed down to me in the genes that structure my unconscious intuitive responses, but my creature has become entombed. Buried alive under my modern command of my every thought, and so I must learn to act without design so that I can sense the world through the echo's that remain of this original state of mind".
Hollins is an artist researching the theory that modern art reveals an unconscious response to the recall of the remains of an old 'animal' way of sensing objects. He believes traditional art practices arose in prehistory to impose a sense of intelligent control over our powers of sight, shape, sound and movement to suppress this older instinctive experience. He avoids intelligent and intellectual ideas in his working methodology so that the end result is free of restraint and, therefore, offers the possibility to bring recall of this lost sensation.
Hollins excelled at art in school but was considered to be a disruptive misfit and left at 15 with no formal qualifications. He worked on a car assembly line until, at 20, he walked out and did odd jobs whilst formulating his theory. He is a solitary individual who lives in isolation in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. He likes to walk the moorland and the seacoast because this frees his mind from the artificial demands that an artist should make a product to an entrenched formula.
He says, “ I cannot tell you how I arrived at the idea that art holds the possibility to bring recall of an old inherent intuitive way of sensing. I think it had something to do with the way my lack of higher education forced me to look away from the established belief that art is a product of the intellect and high learning. I became an 'outsider' and had to make my own interpretation of what art means. My idea might not be to everyone’s taste, but you have to realize art is not about what you like or dislike, art is about trying to see the world around us through emotive ‘feelings’ that are unlike anything our intelligence has ever learned to comprehend. I am convinced these ‘emotions’ are primal in origin and impart us with the remains of a power of perception we have evolved to keep subdued in the deepest oldest areas of our mind".
He has published books on this idea of art. The Animal Within: Explaining the Bizarre and Ludicrous in Modern Art. and Creative Thinking: A Modern Artist's Notebook. Full texts can be read at his website. Hollins is , at present, writing a third volume entitled Art and Evolution: How Our Animal Origins Made Us Creative.