We’re getting lost in the rainbow-prism work of Charmaine Olivia
Thick drips of paint cover the entire body of a woman as she kneels with her head down, her palms laid flat underneath her. This is a vibrant snapshot of Charmaine Olivia, the talented artist we’re currently crushing on. We’re all for finding more ways to appreciate art and painting, and Olivia’s pieces are quickly becoming some of our favorite works of art.
The artist’s style has led to numerous exhibitions. She’s also worked with brands like Urban Decay, Vans, and Burton. She even designed a poster for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album release. The piece shows Gaga with wild, white hair and antlers; tattoos on her neck show her name, the album, and the date. As Olivia’s website explains, a portion of proceeds from the posters went to a “music education charity.”
But rewind to Olivia’s childhood — before all these awesome projects — and you’ll find a girl who just loved to create. The artist remembers trying to create no matter where she went. Case in point: Her tendency to dip her chopsticks into soy sauce at sushi restaurants and “paint” with it.
Olivia told HelloGiggles in an email:
"Even at a young age, I found it soothing and relaxing to create patterns with the dots of soy sauce. I am a compulsive doodler and will draw with anything, on anything I can find around me. That impulse to create has been alive in me for as long as I can remember."
Now, Olivia embraces her bold and bright aesthetic fully. Her Instagram account is full of her works in progress and completed pieces. But her account also features snapshots filtered through a rainbow kaleidoscope — palm trees against a colorful sky, a page of poetry lightly streaked with rainbow reflections.
Her feed is a reminder to look for the colors in life more often — and, in a sense, Olivia has always operated that way.
"I've loved rainbows and bright colors since I was little, but I've gotten more and more obsessed the past couple years. They just make me so happy! I am completely enchanted by the wonder and science of light and color."
Her portraits depict magical women who look like they might belong to another universe altogether. They seem like mermaids, fairies, or something in between — even when some of their expressions seem more sinister than others. Olivia takes inspiration from both real-life subjects and her own imagination.
"The women I paint are sometimes based on my friends, models, or just fantastical goddess women I create in my mind. I don't always choose them, they seem to choose themselves. I like to try to capture that inter luminosity that we all share, to explore our kindredness and our uniqueness."
On her site, she encourages everyone to try to see how they can find art in everyday experiences. She invites us to look more closely at the way the sun glints off a surface, or the strange yet vibrant reflections we accidentally catch in photographs.
"I like to see everything as art, not just what happens on the canvas. I think the more you inquire into your own mind and your own existence, your reason for being, how you want to show up in your life, and how you want to contribute, everything becomes art. You realize that you are the orchestrator of your life and your emotions, which is incredibly empowering but also can be scary — knowing that every thing you want in this life comes down to you taking the initiative to be fearless and go for it, to follow your joy and fulfillment, and sharing that joy and love with everyone you possibly can!"
To find out more about Olivia, check out her work here.