Recently, I had the fascinating experience of observing Montana artist Olivia Stark in her painting studio. I’ve always had a huge desire to be a fine art painter, but personally struggle with the permanence of placing paint on a canvas. The “paintings” that I make include moveable objects that only become permanent when I decide to record their final resting place with a photograph. To watch Olivia work so freely and and deliberately was very enjoyable to me. I love her work and am drawn to her bold use of color and design elements. In this interview you will learn a bit about what inspires and motivates her art. At the bottom, you will see the fun taxonomy I created from her studio tools and art objects. Enjoy!
Tell me a little bit about yourself as an artist:
I'm intrigued by the decision process in making art, any art. Song, poetry, dance, etc. The stuff that motivates us to express ourselves creatively. I'm an exploratory artist. I'm interested in the psyches abilty to make the internal external. Mostly in the individuality of one's own movement to make something other than or out of the act of living. I'm like most people, I like things in life to make sense but as I get older i see that hard lines and fixed beliefs are dangerous and life is complex. So it seems necessary for me to explore ambiguity in my art.
Describe your painting / artistic style:
I use organic shapes, symbols or simple mark making to discharge energy and ideas. I enjoy working with large surfaces and I use color to move a painting forward.
What does a typical studio day look like? What goes on behind the scenes?
I spend a great deal time just looking at the work. This includes "futtsing" with things around the studio and eventually the painting begins. It helps for me to have more than one piece started. Once I get going I need a break away piece to mellow my focus. I'm looking for something to show up so it helps for me to offer my attention to more than one thing at time otherwise I over work a piece and it turns to shit. I forget to eat or drink. I listen to music or podcasts depending on the momentum I'm pursuing.
What is your favorite part of the process?
The very beginning of a piece is my favorite part of my process. I love the gestural qualities of the start of any creative endevour. It's fresh and not burdend with thinking. Sometimes I wish my paintings could just be about beginnings.
What are you most known for/ what is your specialty?
Perhaps, big bold marks. East Indian cooking. Being a young mother with 4 kids. Younger days of singing publicly.
What has been your biggest A-HA moment?
Maybe last year when I realized that life is one developemental moment after another.
What / Who inspires you?
Those things that arrive when I show up. People who do what they love.
What's your favorite color?
What are your future goals?
In short, work less. Paint more.
If you sum yourself up as historical or fictional characters - who would they be?
Oh jeeze, thats a funny question. Uh....I often refer to myself as having an inner dog. Blue Healer.
Favorite music to listen to while working?
Little Dragon, Big Wild, Kungs, Odesza