We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Pamela Olin. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Pamela below.
Pamela, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear the backstory behind a risk you’ve taken – whether big or small, walk us through what it was like and how it ultimately turned out.
Taking risks is what artists do when we stretch. Recently I submitted a concept for a piece of work to a gallery that was outside of my comfort zone. It required me to learn about things I have never played with before: planetary gears and the engineering of predictable motion. While I have created revolving work, nothing like the choreographed movement I envisioned. When I was notified of my acceptance, the real work began!
This piece was fully formed in my head, including the way the objects moved within one another. I knew how to fabricate most of it, but I really had no idea how to achieve the movement I saw in my head. So I went to my first best resource, my Dad (88 yrs old), who is also an artist and maker. He has been producing artwork that responds to people approaching it using motion detectors and gears and motors. He pointed me in the right direction, planetary gears, and that launched a whole new path of learning! After numerous experiments and destroying some gears in the process, I did eventually figure it out.
The piece has been completed and delivered to Mara Gallery & Studio 1421 5th St, Sarasota, FL. for the Justified & Ancient show running November 1-17th in partnership with the Halo Arts Project. For more info go to https://halo arts project.com/event/justified-ancient/#tickets
Pamela, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I really am all about connecting the dots, all the dots, everywhere! I believe in staying curious, reaching out, moving forward and doing good. And I get very creative to accomplish those goals! I believe people don’t get the chance to play enough. I like to give them the opportunity, both mentally and physically. My work invites touch and deeper inspection. I want people to reach out and experience something they have not before.
I also enjoy creating experiences for groups of people to share. I have worked with survivors of trauma, corporate teams that were not working well together, families whose communication had broken down. Art can be an amazing bridge, it can foster understanding between vastly different perspectives and it can heal wounds that no one can see.
I believe this is both the gift and the responsibility of an artist, using our abilities to make the world a better place.
My art is all about transition. Life has changed in so many ways, my work is evolving with me. Making connections is what drives me. The medium I choose to illustrate ideas changes based on how/what I want to communicate, the excitement of working in different media enhances the process. Creating with steel, bronze, copper, brass, stone, wood, resin and various found objects. These elements, combined with life, enable me to evoke deep emotional responses within viewers.
In addition to traditional art making techniques, I also work in the digital arena, creating art that starts on the computer and is realized using cutting edge technology.
Always experimenting with new techniques, I am equally comfortable with analog and digital technologies, and use both according to the needs of the project.
In addition to doing custom commissioned pieces, I offer Interior Design consulting (past ASID member). I also recently retired from Apple after being a trainer for 11 years, so I do private tech training.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
For as long as I can remember I did figure work. The human form is magic to me, the way it carves out emotion from space by the curves and angles of it’s physical form.
I lost my husband almost five years ago and it rocked my world. His passing was very unexpected and very fast. I held his hand and looked into his eyes as he left, leaving me no time to process what was happening in those moments.
I am incredibly thankful for my family and their support, needless to say I could not have gotten through it without them. That being said, the creative flow which is normally the river I live in was in turmoil. I was unable to start things, I was unable to visualize, frankly it was terrifying!
I decided to set myself up with very specific limitations, knowing myself well and knowing how much I will push against those limitations. I chose the very basic 1 inch cube. That was all I gave myself to create with, just a 1 inch cube. OK, perhaps more like hundreds of 1 inch cubes. And then I started pushing against the limits and slowly the flow began moving again. Yes, there were fits and starts. Yes, there was frustration. But yes, there was also growth and process and evolution.
Time has passed and in retrospect I enjoy looking at the path I took to get to where I am today. The cubes have evolved into other concepts involving light and shadow and color and flow. My focus these days seems to be more on transitions as a whole, the liminal space fascinates me. I love the idea of no longer being what I was and not yet being what I will be. It’s a surprisingly comfortable space to hang out in! The possibilities are endless!
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
Probably the biggest lesson I had to unlearn growing up as an artist in Chicago was producing work for myself, not producing work for others.
In the beginning, it is important to be mindful of your audience, depending upon what your goal is as an artist – whether it’s to sell or just produce. If your goal is to sell primarily, then you can’t help but be influenced by the market around you. That can be good and bad! Good obviously because you can feed the market and if you do what people want, in theory, they will purchase your work. That does not mean that your work will give you the satisfaction that you are searching for! It could however mean that your rent gets paid.
While this may sound like a simple lesson: work from your heart not from your wallet, the actual practice is a little tougher to accomplish.
It took me 40 years to realize that people really will buy what I produce from my heart. The difference in the quality and depth of work is apparent, people who care will notice. It can be hard to really believe and spend the time and money on materials and producing, trust me, it’s worth the effort.
Understand that I speak from the perspective of an artist at 63 years old, I’ve never been this old before! It definitely gives one perspective that you simply can’t have until you get here. That means I have a lot more experiences to draw from (pun intended).
- Website: www.PamelaOlin.com
- Instagram: @pamelaolin
- Facebook: Pamela Olin Designs
- Linkedin: PamelaOlin
- Youtube: Pamela Olin