Olivia is a professional artist and illustrator. Lives and works in central Brittany, France.
For someone who was probably always going to end up an artist, Olivia’s career has followed a somewhat circuitous route. Inspired to do her first large horse drawing at the age of 6 after seeing a poster for an exhibition of work by British sculptor Elisabeth Frink in a downstairs loo at a friend’s house, thirty or so years later Olivia had the opportunity to attempt a second, conscious ‘homage’ to Dame Elisabeth Frink in the storybook ‘Muck & Magic’ by Michael Morpurgo, in the capacity of a professional illustrator, for Walker Books.
With a mother who was a professional musician and a father a Doctor of Sciences, and from a family of mixed cultural heritage, Olivia was exposed to a wide range of cultural influences and experiences from a young age. Initially attending a specialist music school training in classical music, Olivia soon diversified into visual art, with the encouragement of a very enthusiastic art teacher but rather than go onto study fine art, Olivia chose Theatre, with the idea of combining all of her passions; visuals storytelling, text and music. She obtained a first class degree from the University of Hull in the UK, and at the same time, to help finance her studies, she held her first solo exhibition of work made in India and Syria. Specialising in stage design and puppetry, Olivia worked in theatre for several years but becoming disillusioned with the non visual nature of British theatre, Olivia turned towards fine art and, since completing an MA in Printmaking at Camberwell College of Art, has worked as a professional artist ever since.
There is a wildwood spirit about Olivia’s work. She seems to be in touch with an inventiveness that everyday life knocks out of most people, as we toil through adulthood. She knows it’s not easy to keep that spirit alive, and consequently there is a determined joy in her work, a playfulness with hidden gravity.
Animals and children are Olivia’s touchstones, all living creatures in fact, in their various landscapes. There are some imagined beasts too, but living ones triumph. Olivia calls herself ‘an untaught artist and accidental illustrator’. Perhaps that’s her secret. Her work speaks to everyone, unforced, and full of soul–Kathleen Jamie, poet