After a lifetime of art Oluf is now 70, and still very active. Oluf senior was an architect and his mother Barbara was an artist. He lived in Colorado until 25. After high school, he studied engineering design at Univ. of Colorado.
In the next chapter he skied and produced airbrushed Bikinis in Telluride Colorado under his brand Loveis. Not yet dedicated to art Oluf was one of the earliest hang glider pilots in Colorado flying just two months after the first Colorado flights. Skiing was his passion however, and he spent consecutive ski seasons in Steamboat CO, Bogus Basin ID, Grand Targee WY, Bridger Bowl MT (nicknamed “Cheaper than Dynamite.” by the ski patrol,) Breckenridge CO, and Mission Ridge WA. Oluf, still skis 60 days a year so … let it Snow!
Though supported by his fiber art and airbrush work in his ski bum years, Oluf became a focused full time artist 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 Weston’s … Edward, Brett, Cole, and Kim. This work sold to collectors including the Boise Art Museum. All this work predates photoshop and required perfection at the time of shooting and printing. His goal is to re-release this classic work along with never released altered nature collages shot on 8”x10” film. Hopefully, you will be able to collect the remaining 20″x 24″ Cibachrome large format photos, from his stash of several 100.
In 1990 Oluf changed mediums again and went full time into abstract 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 governor’s 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. Waiting too long to get paid by the accountants, he started self-marketing through Art Festivals, first in the west and then nationwide. Oluf was one of the first art festival exhibitors with large work to fly to all his shows using air cargo. Oluf profited by being able to display at any of the nation’s highest quality shows on any weekend.
Many collectors 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 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. When you see geometrically arranged squares of originals think of Oluf and collect from the originator. Matrix is still available on this site.
Next, Oluf painted primarily oils on canvas. Landscapes, seascapes and abstracts were painted with thin oils in “Flow Paintings.” These combined gravity and thin paint controlled with dripping, palette knives and brushes. Everything is in motion with this style so every second counts. “Paintings Featuring Drips” is another action painting style where oils were dripped over an under painting. 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 paintings. The paintings can take 6 months to dry. “Textural Paintings” are often the most abstract of his styles, but often fall into the categories of jungles, cities, or stripes. “Organic Geometric Paintings” have a strong element of order. The “Lights Series” use textural acrylics because they require a lot of taping technique. “Organic” applies to the newer 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 groundbreaking creative ideas. 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 has two sons and a grandson.
For the past 5 years Oluf has been retired from the national art festival circuit. He misses seeing all the people and his collectors the most. For retirement he moved to Sagle, Idaho in the Idaho Panhandle near Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint, Idaho. During winter he skis at 49 Degrees North and Schweitzer Mountain. Sandpoint is often rated one of the most beautiful small towns in the US. Hard to argue with that, a great ski area, mountains in all directions, and the huge scenic Lake Pend Oreille with it’s sandy “City Beach” downtown. Boating on the lake with a ski boat is a spectacular way to spend a summer day. Nearby Coeur d’Alene is a larger bustling tourist town with a small art scene. The entire area is among the fastest growing in the nation, but Oluf didn’t move here to sell paintings, which appeals more to bigger city sensibilities.
Oluf is still totally self-marketing all his art …so pick something out! And, I would like to point out that with 50 blank canvases and plenty of paint, it seems probable that Oluf will begin painting again soon! Currently, he accepts custom orders.
Thank for visiting the home website for Oluf Nielsen, Artist.