Read my interview with Olivia, see if you don't agree. She made me laugh on a day when i really needed it. Bless your watercolor heart, you gorgeous artiste.
Q. Now you are teaming up with Neil Gaiman to illustrate POEM, his poetic take on what might be hiding under a woman’s clothes. What inspired you to work with Neil?
A. Well Cat... you did.
You put it out there- suggested it in your blog after we met at my Soap Plant signing.
I've tumbled through the creative wormhole into Mr. Gaiman's lair.
In 2009, we were sent to see Coraline by our friend Leonard Maltin, who said it was incredible and we must see it in 3-D. A few months later at SDCC I met Martin Meunier, the stop-motion designer of much of Coraline characters and faces.. Martin and his wife Nika have become great friends and we are working on many projects together. He invited me to his wedding where I met Henry Selick, director of Coraline. So, Neil's universe has been intersecting with mine for a few years.
I am currently reading/loving American Gods, I'm particularly enthralled by the consuming character, Bilquis, in chapter 2.
Q. did any work in your past direct you to the style of Neil’s POEM?
A. In his Poem, Neil is writing about nudity and the mysteries of concealment. I used one of my favorite models, Bella, who has an intense presence, perfect as this "Gaiman" woman casting her aware eyes back at the viewer. The tentacles Neil imagines reminded me of a painting I did in '79 of a heavily tattooed woman. She had tattoos of tentacles reaching up and outward, wrapping around her body. It was inspired by a famous 1841 Shunga print by Hokusai which depicted a woman engaging in sex with a pair of octopuses (octopodes). The concept in my version is reversed, the implication is that the imagined head of one octopus is her vagina, the uncontrollable Id within her, it's illustrated tentacles reaching outward.
In creating paintings of women, a Neil Gaiman woman is so very different from the woman I paint for Hugh Hefner. I love that I have been able to create for them both.
Q. You are an east coast girl, relocated to Malibu. Anything you miss being out west?
I was born in Long Beach, CA. but spent half my life back east. I went to NY School of Visual Arts in the late 60's and stayed in NYC for 20 years. We love New York, never thought we'd leave.
There are trade-offs being in the distant reaches of Malibu. We don't get into town much, so we miss out on a lot of what's going on in the art world.
I'm an obsessive worker. When I walk the beach, the dolphins, pelicans and parrots tell me what's going on at MOCA.
Q. You and your husband produced these prints, instead of sending to an outside printer. Can you share what you have learned doing this further step?
A. If you want something done right... do it yourself.
Q.. If you could meet any of Neil's fictional characters, who would you like to have a conversation with?
I'm not sure I'd survive long after meeting them.
Q. Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
A. Call Helena Bonham-Carter. She could mimic my obsessiveness and tics and make it all seem normal.
A few people have come to me wanting to do some kind of film about me. They don't have a real concept of who I am or what I do. The scripts inevitably --"First you draw this girl…and she's naked!.... your character is standing there with her paintbrush...and she's naked!"
Q. Do you have any upcoming projects you are especially excited about? New directions?
A.This Neil Gaiman "poem project" came to me at a time in my career where I'm starting to shift my focus. Of course, women are my subject-same as it ever was, but I'm returning to some themes that I worked on years ago. Over the last decade of my nearly 40 year career, I've been creating the pinup page for Playboy Magazine, with captions written by Hugh Hefner. I've loved working with him. But I'm restless and need to stretch. Visualizing Neil's Poem is a perfect beginning to this new chapter. I'm thrilled to be doing this with him.
Q. You will be at WONDERCON in Booth 942. Will you be signing? Any other future appearances?
A.I will be applying red lipstick, posing for pictures, and selling my wares! (no, not those), at booth #942
We will be launching our Neil Gaiman Poem print at Wondercon! Also, we will be at our usual post at SDCC.
So. To clear up any confusion, we have DO more of the Olivia/Neil prints, and I will have to catch up with Neil again (it's like chasing the wind) to get him to sign some more. If you show up at Wondercon in Anaheim, Olivia will be happy to sign/personalize the print for you as well. Go and see that fox in red lipstick!
you can click here to buy the prints from Neverwear.
and you can click here to see more treasures from Olivia.
like this fantastic tee that she sent me as a gift, which i am wearing as we speak! (i LOVE the cop Bettie on the tag, one of my favorite of Olivia's images)