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Check Out Olivia Jane’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Jane. 

Olivia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My art story began as early as I can remember. I was always artistically inclined as a child. I struggled a lot in school, so I escaped into my imagination often. My family also moved around a lot, this was inspiring and exposed me to many different cultures, it was also overwhelming and dissociative. I was very lucky that I was exposed to oil painting when I was just 16. It wasn’t my plan to study art in college. I didn’t go to art school, but I did end up going to a liberal arts college and getting my BA in fine art. After school, I gave up on art entirely. It wasn’t until a few years later, while I was living in Denver, that I started painting again. I was inspired from my travels abroad and decided to seek out a mentor. My first mentor Jack Shure, who is a boulder-based contemporary artist, taught me most of what I know about oil painting. Turns out there were a lot of basic techniques that I never learned in school, and this was a game-changer for me. Art remained something I did on the side of my other careers and side jobs until 2017 when I left my sales career for good and became a full-time artist. I’ve been traveling and doing art ever since. In 2020, I did a 1-year art residency with another mentor Amanda Sage, who is a very inspiring visionary artist and community organizer. In 2021 I moved to my dream studio in New Mexico where I currently teach workshops, create, and spend time in nature with my rescue dog.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The artist journey for me has certainly not been a smooth road, there always seems to be challenges at every level, but my love for art has become such that I would rather these challenges any day. Not making art is not an option anymore, but still, I think it’s so important for artists to support one another, maybe it’s emotional support, financial support, encouragement, feedback and so forth because not everyone can sympathize with what it’s like to pour your heart out for a living. I receive rejection letters regularly, and yes it still hurts, even though I’ve been painting for nearly half my life and I know my work is valuable. It seems everyone who has “made it” so to speak, always says “just keep going”, and that is all you can do. It seems what separates “successful” artists is those who received rejection letters and kept pushing ahead regardless. It’s not an easy path, you have to want it more than you can imagine, but it’s so beautiful too, even on the hard days it feels like a life truly worth living. Not a day goes by that I don’t acknowledge what an immense privilege it is to be an artist.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?

I am most inspired by the people in my life, many of my paintings are inspired by particular people that I love. I am also very interested in our relationship to land and other animals, I have spent much of my life as an organic farmer, so I include depictions of bones, landscapes, and the cycles of life and decay in my work.

Through my exploration, I have found much inspiration in creating therianthropic deities. These are supernatural beings that can embody a range of animal and plant spirits. As long as humans have been around, we have had relationships to deities, they connect us to the land through story. Deities represent the bridge between 3D reality and other realms, and I believe they are here to guide us into a future that is more free, beautiful, and symbiotic for all.

I am a millennial, it is clear to me that we are at a pivotal point for humankind. Painting is my way of processing this immense grief and responsibility, and through art, I create images that depict a oneness with the natural world while hinting at our disconnect.

My work is largely influenced by my life as a global nomad, by age 7 I lived on 3 different continents and was learning my 3rd language. This global exposure from a young age both filled me with culture and vibrancy but always left me questioning: where do I belong? Painting has become a place where I can collage all the aspects of my experiences, the places, the colors, the people along the way, that have made this life so profoundly delicious and exhilarating already.

What’s next?
I am settling into my most recent big change, I relocated to New Mexico in November 2021 to continue my pursuit of an artful life. I am teaching regular workshops from my private atelier and working hard on creating new bodies of work. My main goals for this year are to have another solo exhibition and to get my work into more galleries across the states and internationally as well. I am also looking forward to more collaborative projects with my colleagues and looking to attract more large scale mural projects. Currently, my work can be seen in Denver at Threyda. My work in New Mexico can be seen in Santa Fe at Keep Contemporary, Revolt Gallery in Taos, and Roadrunner Gallery in Madrid. My Atelier in Madrid is also a gallery which can be visited by appointment only.

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