Olivia Booth Interview - The Hopper Prize

Olivia Booth

Olivia Booth on early role models in art, integrating multiple approaches, & working with ideas about transparency & opacity.

How did you get into making art?

There were older women artists in my life when I was young so I knew it was a direction one could take. I liked to look at art, I liked to draw, and I liked to think with something outside my body, like a pencil. I also probably noticed that my nerves settled when I drew.

Then I studied literature in college and realized I needed to draw responses as well as write them, or the two were on a continuum that felt too compressed unless they were both being exercised…. And then I painted, and then I knew the substrate had to be transparent…..

What are you currently working on?

I’m trying to combine big chalk drawings and singular glass pieces–that involve layers of plastic, drawing and paint–on big panels… I’ve been going off to friends about how unnecessarily big so much art that I see is and now here I am moving towards making these bigger panels… I tend to eat my words!

I’m trying to combine big chalk drawings and singular glass pieces–that involve layers of plastic, drawing and paint–on big panels.

Olivia Booth

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

The last body of work– the content of my submission to the Hopper prize, and the content of a show I had at a wonderful exhibition space called Irenic Projects in Altadena, CA– consisted of a suite of paintings and four big chalk drawings, and now the two approaches feel ready for integration. I’ve also been able to get back to working with a great local glass studio, Second Best Studio, so I’ve not only been doing the usual playing with glass elements I have on hand, but I’ve also gotten started on new works, like folding glass and mirror as if they are blankets….

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I try to work on several aspects of my practice at once, but they all rotate around the same constellation of ideas about transparency and opacity. At the moment I’m working on a book of Thoughts on Glass that is a long term project but satisfies the continuous desire to think through this medium, and to draw about it. I’m working on the aforementioned panels, and of course incessantly rearranging my dank studio!

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

In and out…. In in the morning to say hello, so there is no pall of neglect, then most days I teach and tend to family life, and then back in for several hours to think and to make some moves…I always try to make some moves and to leave with a move I’d like to make in mind for the next day…..

Who are your favorite artists?

Roni Horn
Barbara Rossi
Therman Statom
Mary Bauermeister
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Suzanne Jackson
Carla Accardi
Chris Wilmarth

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I learn about artists in conversation with friends and students, and from going to Los Angeles museums and galleries.

I pay close attention to what goes down at the Drawing Center and I try to allot reading time each day to email blasts from non-local institutions and groups too, like the Wattis Institute or Creative Time, and then to link out from there.

Learn more about the artist by visiting the following links:

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