Whether she's making us fall madly in love with the women in her gorgeous paintings or making us feel like we're teenagers again with her beautiful illustrations, Charmaine Olivia is one talented artist. The way she can easily go between mediums, showing us her wide range of styles, one could easily assume she was formally trained. In fact, San Francisco-based Charmaine is a self-taught artist who started out painting on wood and who soon found her calling after posting her work on a very familiar art website. Read that story in an interview we conducted with her after enjoying her wonderful work.
Working in a variety of mediums, artist Charmaine Olivia creates both intense paintings and whimsical illustrations.
Charmaine Olivia, the artist, at work.
You're a self-taught artist. How long have you been creating for?
I first started making mini masterpieces using soy sauce on napkins when I was about five or so. I later upgraded to oil paints a few years later when my aunt and I would go painting by the ocean. I always really enjoyed making art (i.e. doodling on my notebook paper during class) but I didn't start taking it seriously until my last year of high school.
What got you into this profession? How or what inspired you to go down this creative path?
I started posting my work on deviantArt a few years ago and kind of got used to sharing my work. A lot of what I posted was complete garbage, but it didn't matter, I was sharing and it was a start. I think somewhere along the lines somebody was interested in actually buying one of my pieces and I was like “oh, okay, I guess I can do that” and thus began my art career. Although it wasn't until I moved to San Francisco in 2009 that I started working full-time.
Who are some of the other artists you admire?
I really admire Brian Viveros and Sam Weber. Oh, and I'm obsessed with Gustav Klimt.
Love both your illustrations and your paintings. How has your art evolved throughout the years?
My paintings and my illustrations are so different from each other, but I kind of like it that way. They're always evolving and (hopefully) getting better. I kind of thought that at one point my painting and drawing style would meet somewhere in the middle, but I think there are two sides of me as an artist. One part loves making little whimsical & harmless illustrations and the other part loves the intensity and discipline of an oil painting. In some ways I think my drawings are more “real”, they're more spontaneous and free, but a painting is a composition; it takes time and commitment. Either way, I'm always learning and re-inventing myself. I don't think I'll ever stop evolving and changing, just hope my fans can keep up 😉
What are some website you go to for inspiration?
Fecal Face, Etsy, and endless blogs/tumblrs.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring artist?
The internet is your friend! Oh, and you can't please everyone.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Charmaine. Love all of it!
Charmaine Olivia blog: http://blog.charmaineolivia.com etsy shop: http://charmaineolivia.etsy.com facebook fanpage: http://facebook.com/CharmaineOliviaArt