Thursday, April 22, 2010

Interview with Camille Olive ~participating Artist in the Together We Can RePURRPosed Gallery

Camille Olive's Mr. Kitty is captivating! Every time I looked at it, I saw another detail I hadn't seen previously. When I look at any art, I ask myself, "How did they do that!?"  Mostly I can figure it out, but Mr. Kitty had me stumped and left me with more and more questions. Questions I was too excited to think of asking at the show, but questions we all now have answers to here in her inspiring interview!

How  did you hear about the Together We Can project?

I heard about the Together We Can project from the Friskies' website and signed up. (I never thought that I would be chosen to do a scuplture out of cat food cans)

Where did you travel from to attend the gallery event?

I traveled from North Central Pennsylvania - Lewisburg. Bucknell University is located here.

Has your art been in a gallery show before?

I have never had my art in a gallery before, perhaps because I do it as a hobby only, not a serious career venture.

Had you previously used recyclable materials  in your art or was this a whole new medium for you?

I use recycled materials in my sculptures as often as possible, last year I made a dragon costume for my son, the paper mache head was fashioned from a shoe box, old newspapers, two ping pong balls, plastic bottles, and insulating foam. His body was left over green material I had laying around the house. I re-use boxes, plastic bottles, and old newspapers in nearly every project . The dragon came with a ten foot tall castle fashioned from a refrigerator box complete with a working drawbridge with faux wood grained planks!

What other efforts do you make to decrease your carbon footprint?

We turn our heat down to 56 degrees at night in the winter - 64 degrees during the day. We recycle plastic store bags - they are a petroleum by product after all. We have a recycle drop off that takes old computers, cell phones, clothing and textiles, as well as plastics, glass, metal - including old refrigerators and stoves. We always give the usable cast-offs to the Salvation Army for resale in their stores - they use old plastic grocery bags too. I also design and send out a Christmas cards to the President at the White House - I have done this four times, and have received an official White House Christmas card and two signed letters in response.

I also recycle newspapers, vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds and filters, into my compost pile in my garden. Banana peels do wonders for flowering shrubs!

How many cat food cans did you use to create your piece?

I used over fifty cat food cans for my piece - mostly the labels though. I may have used at least twenty Friskies and Fancy Feast cans combined. I donated over thirty cans to the local SPCA and two bags of dry Friskies food to complete the ensemble.

How did you choose the idea for the art you submitted?

I had to look at my beginning sculpture - an empty plastic milk bottle, and a one liter soda bottle for a week or so before I "saw" the sculpture within. I nearly glued my self to the piece on more than one occasion. I was thrilled that someone actually liked my "Mr. Kitty" sculpture, it made my day, my week, and maybe even my entire 2010.

I have painted an ocean scene on all of the walls in our bathroom. Sea turtles glide across the blue swirls, with a group of seahorses and grouper fish following after. Sea weed tendrils rise up off of the "ocean" floor where a wiley crab waits. Our downstairs bathroom has a bas relief tree trunk and leaves, with grass lining the bottom edge of the floor and a flower garden sprouting out of the green blades. A robin's nest in one of the upper branches. My art reflects my mood at that moment, which is why it is always unpredictable. I have dabbled with the craft since I was a small child - spending many summers in art classes while my friends went to the pool.

Describe yourself using 5 words:

I would describe myself thusly - adventurous, witty, willing to take a chance - with some limits of course, compassionate, and sometimes a perfectionist to a fault.

Who or what influences your art?

Sometimes it is good to go back to the basics and study the old masters to get a real free for the craft.

How has this experience affected you?

Being chosen for the Friskies RePURRposed Gallery project made me realize that I still could produce something akin to art if I just made an effort to allow my creative juices to flow unrestricted. Most people would not guess that I submitted a design for both the World Trade Center Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial competitions - I wasn't selected to design either site but it was still a tremendous honor to participate.

How can someone find you online if they are interested in finding out more about your art?

I can be found tooling around facebook if anyone has any questions for me.

To bid on Camille's "Mr. Kitty" follow this link.

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