A View From Within Under the Skin

A View From Within Under The Skin by Holly Wilson
A View From Within Under The Skin by Holly Wilson

The way we see others and how one is seen has been a subject that I have had in my life since I was small. I am both Native American and Caucasian, but growing up I felt more times than I care to count that I was not enough of one or the other and that pull made me question all parts of myself. If I did not look like _____ could I be ______? Where did I fit if I was not a part of this or that group? I have had conversations with many that are from other races and that too was a struggle as well. Is my skin too dark or not dark enough, the texture of my hair or the accent that I speak with. All of this history, this past came to a head one day while getting my children ready for school we were pulling together pencils, folders, colored pencils, and crayons. They had to have 4 sets of 24 crayons each and we had leftovers from sets of the past years, some colors had never been used, and we were combining them together so we’d know how many new boxes would be required. The kids were talking about their friends at the new school and friends of their past school. In the conversation, they were describing the children “the girl with the yellow hair, the boy with the brown skin”, in a very casual descriptive manner with no malice to the differences. This made me think more about how we see people and how one is judged. The smell of the crayons, the vivid colors, and the thoughts of my youth brought me to this crayon project. How we change in our viewpoints of people, and how we judge people based on race and color. We are all one below that surface, that surface of skin, no matter the color, the shape, or the origin.

There are 12 girls and each girl is made in all the 24 colors in a Crayola Crayon box making a total 288 girls. I think if we could see ourselves as all the colors in the crayon box in all the shades we would be kinder we would be able to feel if just for a moment another’s life and our world could change in such a way that kids don’t worry about if they are too light or too dark or if their hair is the right texture to belong.

A View From Within Under The Skin
Crayola Crayon
9’ x 12’ x 1.5”, 2016


This piece is available for purchase please contact me directly

On view October 9, 2020 – March 28, 2021, as a part of the exhibition “Weaving History into Art: The Enduring Legacy of Shan Goshorn” at Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, 1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd, Tulsa, OK 74127

Exhibition History

  • On Turtle’s Back, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin, FL (Sept 13, 2019 -December 23, 2019)
  • Monarchs: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (March 7 – June 2, 2019)
  • On Turtle’s Back, Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe NM (May 25, 2018-January 27, 2019)
  • 21C Museum Hotels Oklahoma City (August 2017 – February 2018)
  • Four by Four 2016: Midwest Invitational Exhibition, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri (September 10 – December 4, 2016)
A View From Within Under The Skin by Holly Wilson
A View From Within Under The Skin by Holly Wilson

A View From Within Under The Skin - Detail by Holly Wilson
A View From Within Under The Skin – Detail by Holly Wilson