Olivia is honored for her artwork You Are The Only One to have been featured in this year’s AfrikaBurn – her first (but certainly not her last) piece to be displayed on the continent. The neon harnesses a bespoke, minimalist DJ stage (constructed with salvaged wood and mirror, also designed by Olivia); thus the two elements work in tandem, creating an engaging and inspiring Gesamtkunstwerk of sorts. You Are The Only One is a call to attention: a spiritual reminder to embrace our individual solipsism[s] within the context of AfrikaBurn’s celebratory global community. After this year’s Burn, both the neon and its corresponding stage will be resurrected in a Capetown township in the new Langa Music School, developed by Bridges For Music, an NPO devoted to creating opportunities and leaving a positive impact on disadvantaged global communities through electronic music.
Tankwa Karoo & Capetown, South Africa
TODO LOQUE PUEDES IMAGINAR ES REAL.
In connection with this year's Zona Maco, México City’s premiere contemporary art fair, Oliva was thrilled to contribute an artwork to The Beauty Project Mexico's sprawling urban endeavor. Pioneered by renowned designer Stefan Sagmeister, The Beauty Project México invites local and international artists to create public art under the premise that beauty has a an impact on society and happiness and Art as a tool for social transformation. Olivia was joined by the likes of RETNA, Alexis CILER, Saner, and AEC (Interesni Kazki) to bring beauty to public buildings.
Fastened to the façade of the modernist tower in the city’s Roma Norte district, Todo Lo Que Puedes Imaginar Es Real (Everything You Can Imagine Is Real) pays homage to the undying creative spirit of México City. This turquoise neon intervention is an evocation of the insatiability of human creativity, reminding all who contact the work that anything imaginable can be realized, that anything uncertain can be negotiated, and that the abstract is only waiting for you to be concretized.
In Olivia's words "Art has the unique ability to playfully provoke us to use the imagination to negotiate the sheer uncertainty of it all. I do believe the future of humanity is moving into the imagination. As the veil slowly slips on a world that’s been imagined for us and we enter into this new paradigm of an age of light, it is important to embrace the mystery and nurture your imagination. May these words shed light on your path and all those who walk with you."
Avenida Álvaro Obregón 151
Ciudad de México, México
Also re-emerging out of Nevada's desert sands and into Miami’s sunshine are Olivia's inimitable road signs. In this on-going international project fondly referred to as "Public Displays of Awareness" (PDA), Olivia has co-opted Wynwood traffic signage in a guerrilla art operation across the neighborhood’s art district with the following aphorisms:
Trust Yourself, Know Thyself, Stay Present, Control Yourself, Forgive Yourself, Follow That Dream.
From coast to coast and continent to continent – the eagles have landed. Olivia's team of young, talented light magicians have helped illuminate the Magic City where she will premier many new temporary and permanent satellite installations for Art Basel Miami Beach.
"It's moments like these when I have to ask myself: What If This Is All Real? I live a completely different life compared to a few years ago, a striking contrast to the way I grew up. The main difference would be the awareness and understanding of how the universe works and my role in this circus. I'm grateful for all the people who have come in and out of my life, all the lessons, the highs, the lows, the love, the hate, the setbacks and the comebacks." - OS
See how the magic unfolded on instagram @steeleism
“VIVA LA MUERTE! This was one of my most dangerous installations to date – but hey, if you're not living on the edge, you're simply not living. What a wonderful and magical event; so many friends were there, both old and new! I’d like to thank everyone who traveled the distance to experience this remarkable event. I’m so lucky that my art continues to bring me to spectacular locations, enabling me to connect with the people I love the most.”
Olivia installed Excuse Me While I Disappear (Perdoname mientras me Desaparesco) in Oaxaca, a special edition morse code installation for the Gem and Bolt mezcal picnic.
Olivia Steele has returned to the Black Rock Desert for this year’s Burning Man: Nevada’s temporary Metropolis. Populated with happenings, installations and performances, the annual, week long festival brings together the international artistic community in order to make transient and meaningful connections with our fellow humans and the surrounding nature. Olivia’s “Public Displays of Awareness” and neon installations were a part of this year’s theme “da Vinci’s Workshop” which was inspired by “the Italian Renaissance of the middle fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, when a historic convergence of inspired artistry, technical innovation and enlightened patronage launched Europe out of medievalism and into modernity.”
The solo exhibition “Faux Real“ at Berlin’s Circle Culture Gallery presented a collection of truisms, illusions, and illuminated metaphors. In this show, Steele has created opposing contrasts to serve as a guiding light in the process of self-exploration, combined with the beautiful side of suffering and the quest for enlightenment. The concepts and statements on display reflect a series of the artist’s personal self-realizations, as she unravels the threads and unlearns layers of conditioning from her own, conventional American upbringing, in this game we all play called life.
“It’s no doubt that the future of humanity is moving towards the imagination. As the gap between the impossible and the possible lessens, and the veil on reality and spirituality lifts, certain truths become more evident and harder to deny. A crucial aspect to our evolution as a human race is in replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity. Know Thyself, a black-lit adage from this collection, brings us to reflect upon our need to nurture our imaginations in the journey to identify one’s purpose or, through self reflection, as one comes to discover what is Faux and what is Real. May my manifestations empower you and amplify your process as we enter into an age of light."
This year for Zona Maco, Olivia has created three site-specific artworks in collaboration with the Four Seasons, Mexico City, to adorn the hotel for the biggest art fair in Latin America. The hotel’s exceptional spatial layout provided ample inspiration for a number of site-specific artworks: Protect Me From What I Desire Know Think See Feel is comfortably nestled in a large antique birdcage, in close proximity to Our Little Secret, which glows above a secluded nook, lightly shrouded in foliage. Risk & Return, which Olivia created after salvaging a regal vintage weighing scale, radiates in a tucked away corner of the hotel’s lobby.
Ciudad de México, México
Back in Tulum for the winter, Olivia has had a full schedule of back-to-back installations, from the beach to the jungle. The series of contrasting and ethereal locations lent themselves to Olivia’s illuminated acumens for this season’s greetings. Let’s Go Get Lost reflected in the waters of a cenote, just as the lush jungle set the stage for her radiating and wry piece, The Civilized Live In The Wild. Another work, Get Lost was positioned above the entrance to the Cave of Enlightenment as a contribution to Day Zero Festival. These were among the multiple displays of awareness this season and will be ongoing until March, 2016. If you happen to be in Tulum, take the time to find your way to of one of the works. Otherwise, have a look at Olivia’s Urban Interventions, and breathe in a little beach and jungle air.
For one of the biggest art events of the year, Olivia dispensed her light messages in and around some of the most unexpected places in the Magic City.
In addition to exhibits organized by Rumney Guggenheim (her New York gallery) at the Scope Art show and Art Bastion in Wynwood, Olivia was also invited to install her work in a number of public spaces. Olivia has teamed up with Edition Hotels to install two permanent artworks at the Miami Beach Edition, I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night and Future Memories, installed in their ice-skating rink and club, The Basement. The hotel also collaborated with Soto Sake to print over 200 books to gift to guests who attended the cocktail evening in celebration of Olivia’s recent works.
Olivia also took the opportunity to bring her art straight to the streets, having installed two new large site-specific works in the windows of her friends at Atrium on Collins Avenue, which will be on view all year round. A number of more ephemeral works at Edge Art Fair and the Vintro Hotel will also be on view for the week and beyond.
SUMMIT AT SEA
Summit at Sea is an intensive weekend gathering on a massive cruise ship for industry leaders across the board, from business entrepreneurs to research scientists, actors, artists, and performers. The weekend brings these individuals together to foster an exchange of ideas between dreamers and doers in order to make a positive impact on the world. Olivia is lucky enough to have been invited to attend and install her artworks aboard the summit ship. While the rough seas took its toll on All I Ever Wanted Was Everything (partially breaking the work) Olivia’s creative and ironic temporary mend was beloved by all aboard.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
From Ibiza to Oaxaca, with Love. After a production trip to Ibiza to design and create Viva La Muerte, Olivia was off to Oaxaca, Mexico for the Gem and Bolt Dia de los Muertos celebration. The event took place in an abandoned hacienda, where Olivia installed custom neon on the front façade to welcome guests to the bacchanal. Be sure to join us next year when we celebrate again, and in the meantime, do try some of their magic elixir.
I’m lucky enough to have had my first show in New York at the inaugural exhibition of the new Rumney Guggenheim Gallery, located in the historic and majestic Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn. The show, entitled “Some Place Like Home”, brought together a selection of site-specific works exploring concepts of estrangement and belonging, all under the thematic umbrella of domesticity. The show addressed a range of associations with the experience of home, from domestic bliss to bleakness; all of the works shared this study of estrangement and belonging in both public and private spaces. The show featured a total of nine works, including You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be.
Rumney Guggenheim Gallery
834 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Open to the public from October 8 to November 11
“For many, traveling to Burning Man is like coming home. On the playa, ‘Burners’ express themselves creatively and freely, having willingly forgotten the pressures of modern culture that inhibit identity, and experience a temporary society free from consumerism. I was honored enough to have been invited to install three artworks on the playa this year, and the experience alone was worth all the complications involved with such a process. After five years of dreaming, I finally delivered my gift of light and reflection to the playa with the installation You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be, which was a huge success. It was featured in USA TODAY and was listed as one of the ‘13 photos that make our nostrils flare’ by A Plus Magazine. I had a lot of fun collaborating with Moral Turgeman on her Little House project as well, which also debuted Burning Man.”
Black Rock Desert, Nevada USA
“This month, I was lucky enough to have travelled to Mumbai and Beirut to install my illuminated acumens in the homes of some very special collectors. It took an airplane, a boat, a carriage, and a tuk-tuk to finally hand deliver my artwork to a private residence just off the coast of Mumbai. My words have found their resting place behind a silk curtain in a beautiful home beside a stunning beach, strategically placed to remind all who walk through the space that There Are Far Better Things Ahead Than Any We Leave Behind.
Next stop: Beirut, another stunning home in which to install another piece of my [he]art. In the hills outside the city, surrounded by cedars and pines, the light of my father’s handwritten words See you on the other side are now a beacon for the whole family to cherish for years to come.
It’s difficult to know what to expect when meeting clients for the first time, but both Mumbai and Beirut introduced me to wonderful collectors who connected with my art on a personal level. Through connecting with them, I was left with a great sense of gratitude and inspiration. It is so reassuring to genuinely bond with those who collect my work and to see firsthand that my art is exactly where it’s meant to be. This reward is why I adore my job and my life! What more could I ask for?”
“If you were waiting for a sign, this is it. “Public Display of Awareness” (PDA) is an extension of an ongoing international public art project, shedding new light on both our approaches to and conceptions of street art. I ventured to the Mexican jungle this month to install a series of thought-provoking messages on utilitarian traffic signs immersed in nature along the rural roads and beaches of Tulum. I’ve combined unassuming safety signs with unexpected messages like Stay Present or Control Yourself, which intend to awaken the mind and spirit as a small token of my affection for Tulum and its inhabitants. While my primary medium has always been neon, the limited access to electricity in Tulum and its surrounding wilderness has beckoned me to create in different forms.
I’ve also began experimenting with murals and studying the art and techniques of classical sign painting with Don Pedro, a local Mayan Rotulista. Already having completed my first two murals, I look forward to experimenting further with this form and taking “Public Display of Awareness” to new places.”
Tulum, Quintana Roo, México
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For all the dreamers out there, introducing a new line of affordable art, for bedtime to nap time to anytime in-between. Illuminate your dreams with these limited edition blankets. The debut collection is comprised of a series of five carefully selected artworks woven into a jacquard throw. Like Olivia, the blankets are made in the USA. Protection, warmth, inspiration: give the kind of gift that keeps on giving.
Collins Avenue is certainly no stranger to neon – nestled in South Beach’s historic Art Deco District, a stone’s throw from Art Basel Miami Beach, you can come across one of Olivia’s most noted works, All I Ever Wanted Was Everything. The piece finds a new home within the walls of Atrium, one of South Beach’s most exceptionally curated boutiques. Steele has not only taken over the entire storefront, but has also placed nine illuminated installations throughout the interior of the space, ranging from birdcages to vintage channel letters juxtaposed with the neon acumens. The centerpiece of the temporary installation, Paradise Is Where I Am, levitates above the store’s unsuspecting guests, leaving room for those to contemplate the beauty of the present moment.
Atrium - Art Deco District
1931 Collins Ave, Miami Beach 33139
Forget your bags; this is unlike any lobby experience you’ve ever had. Once the historic headquarters of the Dresdner Bank, the Hotel De Rome is one of Berlin’s most spectacular hotels and exhibition spaces of contemporary art. Olivia Steele, in collaboration with Circle Culture Gallery, is proud to announce a multifaceted exhibition of 11 illuminated works throughout the lobby, bar, and newly renovated restaurant, La Banca. Let your spirit float through the space, traveling through its illuminating dialogue as it stimulates empowering thoughts of infinite possibilities. The hotel's new design concept has unlocked a truly unique public space, setting the stage for artists to continue inspiring its lucky guests. Each guest room is complete with the newly released book of works and installations by Steele.
Hotel de Rome
Behrenstraße 37, 10117 Berlin
What do Balmain and Olivia Steele have in common? They share a piece of The Corner, one of Berlin’s most stylish concept stores. Find the freshest mix of established labels and young designers, alongside an exciting selection of perfumes and accessories. The grand space now exhibits five Olivia Steele neon artworks. Shop, ponder, relish in extravagance and light in this unexpected shopping experience where art meets fashion.