Gallery Girl

Local artist Holly Socrates creates a polished space to showcase her contemporary works.

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  • Written by
    Amber Klinck


On a charming corner off Main Street in El Segundo sits the Holly Socrates Gallery. A small but bright and welcoming space, the gallery adds to the growing artistic culture that continues to evolve with the town’s increasing presence of creatives. Similar to the juxtaposition of El Segundo’s contemporary growth and small-town feel, Holly’s collection merges delicate drawings with heavily textured acrylics and lino block prints.

Utilizing a variety of materials, including charcoal, paint, silver leaf, cheesecloth—even coffee, Holly aims to create distinctly unique pieces for a body of work that coordinates well as a collection, despite having stylistic differences. This synchronicity allows patrons to acquire pieces of Holly’s work over time, while still having a cohesive look.

Holly has partnered with the organization Young at Art, a nonprofit with a mission to bring artistic inspiration to the young students of the South Bay by way of volunteer docents.”

This appreciation for esthetically pleasing contrasts is found within Holly’s individual pieces as well. This is perhaps most noticeable in her charcoal drawings.

“I like to dirty it up,” Holly explains as she stands in front of a large charcoal sketch with coffee stains dripping down the canvas. Before the addition of coffee, “the drawings feel too buttoned up, too academic. Imperfections feel more real.”

The cohesive variety in her work extends into the inspiration each artistic medium provides for Holly. “My drawings tend to be more representational, where my paintings are more abstract,” she explains. “I like to shade and play with shapes. I like to see what I can pull away from the image.”

Originally from Maryland, Holly graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, with a double major in advertising and fine arts and a minor in graphic design. She began her career on the creative side of the fashion industry, working as a merchandiser, designer and wardrobe stylist before returning to her first passion: art.

Today Holly lives in Manhattan Beach with her husband, James, and their two children. With a studio at home, Holly finds yet another beautiful blend of styles as her life as an artist merges with her life as a mom.

“My son is my biggest fan,” Holly says with a smile. “He hands out my cards.” Holly describes both her children as “super-creative.” Her daughter’s first sentence was, “I want to draw.”


ON THE WALL: A sampling of Holly’s work on display at her gallery.


In addition to sharing the joys of art with her own children, Holly has partnered with the organization Young at Art, a nonprofit with a mission to bring artistic inspiration to the young students of the South Bay by way of volunteer docents. This year Holly will be presenting twice, emphasizing realistic drawings through the work of Chuck Close, a photorealistic painter.

When asked what draws Holly to art, she very simply states, “I enjoy it.” She creates the work she wants to, inspired by the things she finds interesting—or beautiful. And it works.

Why El Segundo? She likes the “cool, artsy-vibe,” playfully calling her gallery’s locale “El Soho.”

Currently on exhibit at the Holly Socrates Gallery is the Surf & Turf collection, a body of work “inspired by land and sea.” The exhibit’s closing reception will be on Saturday, March 21 and is open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m.

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