J. Brad Holt grew up in Cedar City, Utah. He is a graduate of Cedar City High School and Southern Utah Universtiy. He spent childhood summers working on his grandfather's ranch in Orderville, Utah, hauling hay and punching cows. At age seventeen he joined the Utah Army National Guard where he served for the next twenty years as a member of HHB 2/222 FABN. Brad is a musician specializing in Early Woodwinds. He spent several seasons as a musician/performer with the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah.
Brads desire to become an artist began with a childhood facination with the images of the surrealists, particularly those of Yves Tanguay. Eventually he was mentored by the renowned landscape painter Jimmie Jones, who was a friend of the family. Jimmie gave him a lot of old paint and brushes, taught him how to stretch a canvas, and showed him how to lay out his palette. Brad recalls: "Raw Umber and Ultramarine were the core of Jimmie's palette, and they remain the core of mine to this day. They allow a subtle interplay of temperature in the underpainting."
Brad Graduated from Southern Utah State College, (now SUU), as an Art Composite Major. He studied under Tom Leek, Arlene Braithewaite, Glen Anderson, Nina Marshall, and Spike Ress. After college he shifted gears and studied Early Music performance practice, and Lutherie. "I guess it's just something I had to get out of my system. For years I strove for an ever more perfect illusion of reality, and the closer I came to that ideal, the more empty and tedius the exercise became. When I returned to painting I realized that I had to let paint be paint. Landscape painting is not about a perfect portrait of a physical place, it is about the eye, the hand, and the mind of a confident observer. The paintings that I admire are those in which the artist has enough confidence in his own vision to allow bold elegant brush artifacts remain. They serve as a visual testimony to the joy of the process. I do not want to leave my viewers exhausted with a labyrinth of detail. I want them to feel the joy that I feel when I stand before nature with a brush in my hands."
Brad has taken First Place in the Everett Ruess Plein Air competion in Escalante, Utah in 2006. He twice recieved the Artist's Choice Award and was Featured Artist in 2012. He has been an artist participant in the Zion Plein Air Invitational: In The Footsteps of Thomas Moran, since its inception. Brad has participated in numerous juried exhibitions and invitational shows including: The Springville Spring Salon, The Southern Utah Invitational, The Sears Dixie Invitational, Art for the Parks, and Land of Contrast: The Dixie National Forest Service Show. He has been published in Poulton and Swanson's: "Painters of Utah's Canyons and Deserts, and " The Gallery: Antiques and Arts Weekly."