"My work as an artist is to turn my dreams into responsibilities."
“My art is not about what I see… Its about what I invite you to see” are the words of contemporary light artist Olivia Steele, who has earned an international reputation for her spirited public neon happenings. Always symbolic and sometimes irreverent, her neon statements suspend time and motion. The interpretable phrases inhabit spaces of contradictory, confrontational or conciliatory meaning. They crystallize the unity between landscape, semiotics and spectacle that engenders myriad avenues for contemplation.
Steele harnesses the power of neon gas to assert symbolic phrasing that allures and provokes. Her expansive career has seen her impart fragments of wisdom and wit all over the globe, from Tulum to Berlin to Mumbai in the form of site-specific land art and indoor installation. Aside from the immediately iconic and often humorous style of Steele’s work, her interventions are pointedly placed in environments that prompt existential musings. Her innate relationship with the sublime and spiritual manifest as explosive imagery where Steele’s opus positions her as one of the most compelling contemporary artists working in her field today.
Proving that “it is the spectator and not life that art really mirrors,” Steele’s oeuvre is a synthesis of contrast and contradiction. She encapsulates the contemporary storyteller and uses the traditional medium of neon to form her striking expressions that address the vortex of modernity. Her neon works are short, punctuated truths that mirror the ingenuity (or malaise) of the digital age. Her glass acumens are often paired with incendiary imagery – explosive atomic bombs and religious symbols – that are evocative stimuli for the viewer. Covert emotions and unforeseen forces also charge Steele’s themes where her studies into consciousness and the divine pervade her transformative pieces.
My work as an artist is to turn my dreams into responsibilities.
I just want to talk to the world, by talking to myself first.
I endeavor to empower individuals through the use of inner musings and ancient wisdom.
My vision is to induce reflection, progression and positive transformation with conscious art that penetrates the boundaries of form andfunction.
I want to challenge conventional conditioning and expectations.
Powerful and concise words are formed by hand and filled with noble gas with the intention to provoke awareness, touch the heart, and massage the mind.
The illuminated acumens initiate an inner dialog as though to act as a beacon of light that destroys illusion and reveals truth.
I work for the light, with light.
My signs and neons are installed in surprising environments, which manifest as unexpected intrusions of beauty, and awaken the viewer out of state inertia.
I believe civilization is hungry for this.
The future of humanity is moving into the imagination; as the veil slowly slips on the world that’s been imagined for us.
And as we enter into this new paradigm, an age of light, its important to embrace the mystery and heed the signs.
If you were waiting for a sign, this is it.
My art is a testament to what life has shown me in my seemingly short existence thus far. This is a honest reflection of the inter-workings of a girl who was touched with fire at a young age, a demonstration of the artistic temperament of an individual who bore witness to mentally ill yet genius parent[s]. The normalcy of experiencing and bearing witness to these exalted highs and despairing lows on a constant basis paved the way to transcendence within my inner self – seeking reason, solace, and coping mechanisms to cure an ocean of turbulent waters.
Someone once told me that the world was actually made perfect. Nothing is wrong with it, it’s only our perceptions of the world which are imperfect. This really hit home and put things into perspective for me. Looking back, it was a trigger that made me think that you can always seek safety in reason and rationale. Of course, I must not forget to add “laughter is the best medicine,” which gives rise to the recurring theme of irony and contradiction in my work.
Now I’ve come to the conclusion that everything does and does not happen for a reason, as cliché as that may sound. My life certainly started outside the comfort zone. The only thing I can be sure of is that you can be sure of nothing. Security is one big illusion, and life is one big test. My art is simply a reflection of me in my attempts to make sense of it all. My hope for anyone who comes in contact with my art is that you are engaged and touched, for better or for worse, as you find yourself in a moment of reflection. If my work did not provoke thought, foster consciousness, and tickle the soul, I wouldn’t be doing my job as I intend.
It is my burning desire to create stunning and powerful installations that inspire and tempt. I want to silently touch the spirit and soul.