by Christopher Olson
Let’s not over analyze things, let’s just play around until we get a shape that resonates. What color? Black on white. The basics. Let the meaning come from form. Focus on shapes. What are we looking for? Explore abstract concepts; what does Certainty look like? Doubt? A Threat? Violence? A Perceived Threat?
Often in digital art there is a lot of complexity, as if to add weight, to add significace, to add texture to suggest context. But really complexity is often there because it is easy, and natural, for computers to generate detailed structure, lots of bits.
Another tendency in digital illustration is to go for the minimal. How basic and minimal can you represent a movie, a tv show, a religion or philosophy. How wittily can you reduce a complex concept to a single basic shape? But those are also different from what goes on here.
You need to have a certain kind of mind to look for relevancy in very basic shapes; a zen-like playfulness. (I’m not surprised this artist lives in Japan) but also a punk rock attitude to stick to the simplest loudest forms to express emotions.
Christopher Olson often works in photographs and text; language or recorded images. I think these are pictures that work like language. These marks intend to be perceived threats. Not a diagram, a symbol. To resonate the feeling, not communicate the meaning of the word. They function like symbols in religion. An incantation.
What's in the download?
This edition contains the shapes in PDF and JPG format, the source AI files, and a range of wallpapers, illustrations and avatars based on the 4 basic forms. A PDF-booklet contains a conversation on the work between Christopher Olson and André Brocatus.
Born in Winnipeg, art-schooled in Vancouver, and currently based in Nara, Japan, Christopher Olson throws the closest media at hand (including but not limited to: sound, photography, type) against the wall to see what sticks while maintaining an ongoing critical writing practice.
He has one of those BFA’s in Photography from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC, has participated in numerous group shows, a pair of solo shows in Vancouver, and has worked as freelance arts and culture writer since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to Border Crossings, and has written regularly for Vancouver Review and Color magazine. He’s also written for Capilano Review, Blackflash, C Magazine, along with exhibition/publication essays for Heidi Nagtegaal, Bernadette Phan and Sally Lee. He has lectured on sound art at Centre A and the Or Gallery in Vancouver.
Visual work has also appeared in Blackflash, Front, Only, Woo, Pyramid Power and up online on TinyVices.