Oluf is 61 and was born in 1953, Oluf senior was an architect and his mother Barbara was an artist. He went to school in Denver and lived in Colorado until 25. After high school, his studies in engineering at Univ. of Colorado as well as independent studies at Oregon State were on a collision course with seasons of skiing at Steamboat, Bogus Basin & Telluride. His small company Loveis produced airbrushed bikinis, “Bikiniland, Telluride’s only bikini factory.” He was one of the earliest hang glider pilots in Colorado flying just two months after the first Colorado flights. Skiing won out over college and hang gliding and Oluf spent the next winter seasons powder skiing at Breckenridge CO, Grand Targee WY, and Bridger Bowl MT, the Bridger ski patrol respectfully nicknamed him “Cheaper than Dynamite.” Oluf, still skis 50 days a year so ….let it Snow!
All though supported by his fiber art and airbrush work in his ski years, Oluf became a focused full time artist 37 years ago around 1977. His idea of using natural materials in their most natural form led Oluf to his 1979-83 ground breaking photographic series of altered nature collages “Fragments of Beauty.” This media breakthrough led to internationally recognition, with 6 pages in Photo Annual 1985. Using large format cameras, he personally printed his large Cibachrome prints which defined quality so well that a Seattle gallery director left two of them hanging when the rest of the gallery was devoted to the show of the Westons… Edward, Brett, Cole, and Kim. This work sold to collectors including the Boise Art Museum. His next photo series was “Living Paintings” and collaged altered autumn leaves and flowers with painting on paper. Note: 30 years later his goal is to re-release this classic work along with secret new shots in the 8”x10” film format. In the future you will be able to collect the remaining Cibachrome large format photos, as well as new metal prints of these classics on this site.
In 1990 Oluf changed mediums again and went into painting stating “If I am going to be an artist for my life than I should choose painting or sculpture, and sculpture is too heavy.” So painting it was! The early original textural collages and paintings were shown in a Colorado governors mansion show with his mother’s paintings. Galleries and art consultants sold his paintings to many Fortune 500 companies in the US, with some abroad. Having to wait too long to get paid by the accountants of these corporations he started self marketing through Art Festivals, first in the west and then nationwide. Oluf was one of the first festival exhibitors with large work to fly to all his shows using air cargo. Ridiculed early on by other artists (who thought he would go broke,) Oluf profited by being able to display at the nations top shows on any weekend.
Many know him for the “Matrix Series” the tile-like series of large collages composed of 5 inch square unique originals. The public, artists, and promoters across America know that Oluf was the creator of this modern look. He first marketed “Matrix“ paintings 21 years ago in 1993. Scores of collectors have collected “Matrix” with each collage and in fact every square a unique one of a kind original. Other artists have done their take on this look. The point to be made is that when you see geometrically arranged squares of originals think of Oluf and collect from the originator.
Currently, Oluf is painting primarily oils on canvas. Landscapes, seascapes and abstracts are painted with thin oils in “Flow Paintings.” These combine gravity and thin paint controlled with dripping, palette knives and brushes. Every thing is in motion with this style so every second counts. “Paintings Featuring Drips” is another action painting style where oils are dripped over an under paintings. The organized aspect of this style comes from dripping what Oluf calls North, South, East, West to which he throws in a few outlier drips.
He also loves the texture of thick high end oils colors from Holland painted with palette knives and brushes. “Textural Paintings” feature these paints combined with texture mediums. These paintings often take 6 months to dry. The “Textural Paintings” are often the most abstract of his styles, but usually fall into the categories of jungles, cities, or stripes. Finally “Organic Geometric Paintings” have a strong element of order. The “Lights Series” are textural acrylics because they require a lot of taping technique. “Organic” applies to the new oils that have lined up colors which are organized more like the kernels in corn.
Oluf would be bored if always painting in one style or the same painting over and over like many artists do. When asked, why he has so many styles he may state “Because… I’m not a one trick pony!” Since he keeps his art cerebral, creative and fun, expect his work to always be moving forward with ground breaking creative ideas such as this years “Flow Paintings.” You could miss out if you like a painting of a certain style and wait too long to buy. Oluf changes with the times, and keeps each painting unique.
Oluf was married for 10 years and divorced. Two sons, Mikkel 33 and Weston 25 both graduated from college with BA degrees in 2012, Portland State and WSU. He has one brother in Seattle, another brother in Cambridge, a sister in Denver, and an older brother in Denver who is taking care of the much loved, Barb and Ole who are approaching 90.
For the past 34 years Oluf has been based in Washington. He has 2 studio spaces with paintings painted in a 30 Ft diameter yurt with 5 large picture windows and a skylight. It sits behind his house in a forest of ferns, Rhododendrons, and 100 ft tall Cedars. His home & studio are in Issaquah, Washington, east of Seattle and toward the Cascade ski slopes. Oluf plans to retire to a ski community, stay in shape and sell more art on the web and less at festivals.
To learn more about Oluf's work, please visit his website at http://olufnielsen.com/.