An interview with artist Lance Austin Olsen
What form of art or media do you work with?
Oil on panel or canvas
acrylic and mixed media on paper or canvas or panel.
dry point engraving
ink and tea with tea bags as the brush substitute
pen and ink.
ink and sumi-e brush
a lot of my work I produce in book form often to be read as graphic scores for audio performances.
contact microphones on various objects,
guitar, acoustic and electric, toy accordion and any other object that can be blown, rubbed, scraped or banged.
Can you describe your studio/work space.
about 400 square feet, no windows, overhead skylights. 50% is storage space. one 12 foot wall space for painting. I can put up 3 panels for a 40″ x 120″ triptych ( a size and format that I like.
A 4 foot x 8 foot table containing electronics, guitars, copper plates, bicycle tyres, toy accordion, various jars and bottles plus speakers and recording devices for my audio production.
60% of my recorded work is with Jamie Drouin under the name Drouin/Olsen
Can you please give a brief description of your creation process and technique.
My works are footprints of my journey and as such usually start from a point contained in the previous work, then the journey takes its own direction, one thing suggesting another. If I find myself “designing” I stop, i have no interest in being an “art director” in my own work.
What are you working on at the moment?
new releases with Jamie Drouin. (Drouin/Olsen)
3 Books of images, 2 of which are graphic scores.
ongoing paintings influenced by the sounds in my head and around my work space
a 60 minute tone poem “Dark was the Night” based on an idea derived from the Blind Willie Johnson work of the same name.
How do you know when a work is complete?
It’s done when it’s done, some times they die on the vine and other times I just know they are done, there is no hard or fast rule.
Do you listen to music when you are working, or the radio, or work in silence?
I never turn on any music it disturbs the fact that my mind is working on the paintings.
What are you reading at the moment?
Notations 21 compiled by Theresa Sauer
Jack Maggs by Peter Carey
Emerald Ice, poems by Diane Wakowski
Moby Dick. Herman Melville
Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue
What is your favourite artwork by another artist?
everything by Alberto Giacometti
Please complete the following sentences in whatever way is meaningful to you:
a) Artists should stop talking.
b) Art is for everyone even if they don’t want it.
c) The World is our home
What is the worst thing someone has said about your work?
“I quite like that”
Who is your favourite German Expressionist painter?
I like most of them but Max Beckman was the big guy.
Thank you Lance