[Interview with painter OLI] A new transformation of “distortion” created by the corona disaster

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OLI Thumbnail

Hello everyone. This is GOSUKE, the manager of MONOLiTH, a contemporary art online shopping site.

The partner of this artist interview is OLI, a painter from Hiroshima Prefecture.

In recent years, OLI has been producing the "WARP" series with the theme of "distortion".

A series of works with the theme of OLI's unique "WARP" style, which is characterized by motifs that seem to warp to another dimension.
Consider distortion as a new balance, and if you feel the distortion beautifully, by establishing that new balance,
Could it be the new golden ratio? It expresses the challenge and hope.

This time, we will approach the real face of such an erudite and versatile man.

artist profile


OLI profile picture

Starting with live painting in 2014, he performed graffiti art and aerosol art at numerous clubs and parties, held his first solo exhibition in 2016, and started his artist activities in the same year.

Currently working on the "WARP" series with the theme of "distortion" inspired by COVID-21 .

In addition to artist activities, as an art director, he is involved in a wide range of activities such as planning and managing art events in the fashion, video, and club scenes, as well as collaborating with musicians and apparel brands.

OLI artwork_1
OLI's Instagram

Check out OLI's works and exhibition information here

Click here for Instagram

artist interview

College days when I started to be conscious of being a painter

ーーWhen did you first become interested in painting?

Originally, I liked making things and arts and crafts classes since I was a child.

ーーThat's right. What made you become conscious of being a painter?

When I was in college, I used to scribble on postcards at Posca, and when I posted it on SNS, I happened to meet someone who wanted to hold an event, and was asked to do a live painting.
That was the first time I painted in front of people, and I think that this experience made me aware of my profession as a painter.

OLI artwork_5
OLI's Instagram

ーーI see. When I saw your mural painting before, you drew it very quickly. Do you have any tips?

One of the reasons is that it is a work that can be corrected while drawing,
I think the biggest reason is the accumulation of the number of paintings.

ーーAfter all, skill and time are proportional. How long does it take to paint a canvas work?

Up to about 30 canvases can be produced in 3 to 5 hours.
In my experience, works that take a long time tend to get stuck, so works that can be completed quickly are good works so far.
However, recently I've started to get a little more focused on the backgrounds, so it's taking a little longer than before...

"WARP" series that redefines "distortion" and creates a new golden ratio

--Please tell us about the concept of the "WARP" series you are currently drawing .

The "WARP" series, which I have been working on for about two years, was born due to the corona crisis.
At that time, while I was searching for a work that would be OLI's representative work, the corona pandemic spread all over the world, and people's lives and styles changed completely. Now that the world distorted by the corona has become the standard, I started production with an attempt to capture this "distortion" as something beautiful.

OLI artwork_2
OLI's Instagram

ーーSo the "WARP" series was created during the pandemic.

In general, I think that "distortion" has a negative image of being distorted and unpleasant.
If there is a "distortion" that seems cool, it will become a new format.

ーーAmazing... It's like a new golden ratio and cool.

I agree. Originally, the golden ratio is established for cool things and beautiful things. When it collapses, it creates a sense of incongruity, but I think it's because a new balance is born that I think it's okay to be in a distorted state.
It's a kind of distortion response. I want to express that in my work.

After you started making the "WARP" series, did anything change, such as the evaluation of others?

Until now, I was able to draw a relatively wide range of subjects, so I received various requests. , clients, etc. have come to be unified.

OLI artwork_6
OLI's Instagram

ーーAmazing! So the "WARP" series has become OLI's representative work. This time, Corona is a big event that has affected people all over the world, but has there been any change in your life due to COVID-19?

It was there. A solo exhibition was scheduled to be held, but in order to deal with the inventory of the goods I was making for it,
Launched an apparel online site. I was able to create a new base for sales other than exhibitions.
As for the production of my work, I have more time to face painting due to the coronavirus, and my feelings for painting have become stronger.

Live painting at its best

ーーThis is one of OLI's favorite episodes.
There is such a thing as wearing an Icchora.

that's right. I want to live paint with the feeling that singers and artists stand on stage and perform live. Because I do it with the feeling that what I create is the highest quality product.
Also, by appearing in front of people in the clothes that I decided on, instead of wearing the clothes that people think of as a painter,
What does he do? A painter?
However, there were many clothes that became unusable because they got dirty during painting (laughs).

ーーYou always wear white gloves with the clothes you decided on. Is there a reason?

Instead of working gloves or plastic gloves, I always wear white gloves like those used to handle jewelry.
This style took root when I wore it with the meaning that the work I create is a jewel.
I think that the image of painters in the world has a quiet impression, but I don't want to change that, but I think it would be nice to have an artist like me who stands out.

OLI live painting

OLI live painting

OLI live painting

Abundant input is the key to production

ーーI see...that's a cool style, isn't it? What is your motivation for creating works, including live painting?

First of all, I don't have a style that expresses emotions, so I look at beautiful things, music, movies, etc. that attract me and get inspired and create a stock.
After that, I buy canvases and start painting, and before I know it, I'm in a good mood.

ーーAs expected, input is important in production.
Please let me know if there is anything that has motivated you recently.

The best movie I've seen recently was "Elvis". I like it because it's based on a true story, and it adds depth to the story. I also recommend "Peaky Blinders" on Netflix, which has great fashion and color schemes.
Be sure to watch "Everything about Lily", which has good interiors and exteriors such as buildings and composition.

ーーAll of your works look interesting.. I'll take a look!

From 8/26, I will participate in a pop-up selling goods such as figures and posters for a week at a select shop called Pulp in Shibuya. We also accept orders for rugs.

OLI Pulp Exhibition
Instagram of Shibuya PULP

ーーOli, you also sell goods! Come to think of it, OLI does a lot of collaborations with apparel brands.

Just because I'm working as an artist and making goods doesn't mean I want to distribute pictures indiscriminately. it's close.
I don't want to make a lot of them, so I'd like to be able to deliver limited editions to fans who appreciate the rarity value.

Artwork by OLI_4
OLI's Instagram

ーーI see. Merchandise is also a work of art.

I think it's good to have that kind of awareness.
I want to add a rarity value to my paintings, and with regard to apparel, I'd like to think that I'm not selling clothes, but art prints. I want you to buy clothes as if you were buying art.
You can put it in a frame and decorate it.

About future challenges

ーーIs there anything you want to challenge in the future?

I would like to create a three-dimensional work.
It's just that I need funds, so I'm considering a fan and more.
Regarding NFT, rather than what I want to do, it feels like what I should do from now on.

ーーYou can also do NFT.

yes. As for the data, I'm thinking of connecting it to a bridge, but it's going to cost money anyway...

ーーI see... Can you make a work of three-dimensional objects as an OLI of a figure?

I would like to develop the "WARP" series into three-dimensional works , not figure OLI .
Not as toys such as figures, but as works of art.

ーーIs Figure OLI different from a work of art?

For me, figurines are more of a hobby than a work of art.
Figures that develop from art are different, but I want the character OLI to be a hobby.

Artwork of OLI_4
Instagram of Shibuya PULP

ーーDo you have a plan for the three-dimensional objects in the "WARP" series?

I have something very good in my head, but the budget is messed up.
I don't think art works are mass-produced, so I'm currently exploring how to make them.
I don't want to stop because of money, so I'm going to take action more and more.

ーーThen, now is the time for change. It's like the second stage of the "WARP" series.

I agree. I thought that by working on this, I could see a work that could compete on the world stage.

ーーHow was the reaction of the "WARP" series overseas?

From time to time, I receive several inquiries via email. There are also inquiries from galleries, and we are doing an exhibition in Taiwan in April, and some are currently in progress.

Artwork of OLI_7
OLI's Instagram

express yourself through art

ーーI'm looking forward to creating works that challenge the world! What does art mean to you?

For me, art is something that can last a lifetime.

ーー「Things you can do for a lifetime」..That's a deep word.

I'm usually a playful character, but it's the most serious thing I can do. I've always been a serious person, but I've done a lot of things somehow, so I think that it's precisely because I've experienced it that art is something I can't do.
I'm good at expressing myself in words, but I'm not good at writing. Something to convey your heart in case of emergency. I thought I could explain as much as I could while looking at the paintings, not my emotions.

ーーFor OLI, art is also a tool for self-explanation.

I agree. I don't think it's something that I absolutely need for the rest of my life, but I have high hopes that it will be good if I can do it as something that I can do for the rest of my life. Rather than loving painting, I think I like myself for being able to do it.

Artwork of OLI_8
OLI's Instagram

ーーThat kind of feeling is important, isn't it?

I wish I could say clearly that I love painting, but that's not what I mean. I like things that reflect the current situation. Perhaps I draw to know my inner joy.

--It's amazing that it's become your life's work, isn't it?

Well, for me, that's what makes me money. Without it, I would be unemployed.
So I would be happy if you could buy my work. Also, it may not stop in the future.

ーーI see... Does the "WARP" series express OLI's inner self?

At first, there were some elements that made me feel uneasy. I'm the type who can't draw the same thing all the time. But for now, I feel fit and able to express myself inside. However, I would like to play around with it soon.
If you have an image of "distorted" or "distorted", you have to go to the second stage of bending. It's not like I'm drawing a new picture or making a new work. I would like to make a new series of "WARP" , and now may be the turning point.

▼Works on sale at MONOLiTH

Artwork of OLI_8

ーーThank you for your time today! It was a lot of fun to learn more about OLI and her works. I can't wait to see what you do in the future.

Click here for the actual interview video

This interview was conducted on Instagram Live.

Please listen to the live voice of the artist who actually speaks.

OLI interview image
Click here for OLI's Instagram live

At the end

That concludes our interview with OLI, who answered many questions about art, including the story behind the birth of the "WARP" series and his thoughts on it.

Last year, OLI expanded his field of activity at a dizzying speed, including exhibitions at Warehouse TERRADA and MIYASHITA PARK.

OLI's works are also available on the online shopping site MONOLiTH!

Please check it out.

Click here for OLI's work

Thank you for reading this far.
See you soon!

MONOLiTH Operation Manager

Gosuke Onoda