Jan 14, 2008
Vinyl Artist Poll - Intro and Kristian Olson Profile
One day on the phone almost a year ago, Clay C. (a regular contributor here at Vinyl Pulse) and I batted around this question – “What artist would you most like to see ‘do vinyl’?” Merely raising the question had each of us immediately naming artists of whom the other had not heard, and led to many happy hours of discovery for us both. Clay first proposed we turned the question into a reader's poll project. Both of us thought that any single person's selection of artists would likely be too idiosyncratic, too personal. VP agreed to participate, and this poll is the combined effort of Clay and the VP editorial staff. Of course we hadn’t really considered the labor involved … so after an absurdly long period of gestation, we’re finally ready to get this project rolling. Before reviewing the process of selecting artists for the poll, here’s a brief summary of what’s about to go down.
For the next two weeks, VP will present one artist each weekday – ten artists in all. We’ll provide you with a short bio/profile where possible (usually copied directly from the artists’ websites), some samples of their art, and a link to more of their work. We tried to select samples that are reasonably representative of each artist’s broader body of work, but we do strongly encourage you to check out the links – not only to cast an informed vote, but because we think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised by all of the superb work out there – we certainly were.
After all ten artists have been profiled, we’ll start the poll. The question which will be presented to you is: “Which of these ten artists would you most like to see work in vinyl?” We are not asking you to select any specific piece you’d like to see realized in 3D … the question is intended more to find which artist’s style, which overall aesthetic sensibility, you’d like to see tried out in art toys.
Now the process of crafting the poll, primarily of selecting the artists for inclusion. This was not without its own unexpected difficulties.
First, we had to decide – “For whom are we doing this? Is it for the artists, to gain them some exposure and maybe even some consideration from the vinyl manufacturers? Is it for the manufacturers, to help them gauge the tastes of their clientele?” Ultimately however, we decided that our audience in doing this were you, the Vinyl Pulse readers – to expose the VP readership to these artists, some of whom may be unfamiliar, and to allow the readers to provide feedback on what they would like to see. Answering this broad question of our goal led to some more pragmatic decisions --
We have excluded artists who:
- Are not living. (Although another poll some day among deceased masters might be fun – Bosch and Picasso and Durer and … !)
- Have already done substantial work in vinyl. This was a bitch of a rule to apply – Where and how do you draw this line? We ended up including, for example, Kristian Olson while excluding Scott Musgrove. This rule still eliminated a lot of artists we’d love to see more vinyl from, like Scott Musgrove and Glenn Barr.
- Are unlikely to ever work in vinyl. (Another rule that turned out to be far easier to state than to apply.) Some artists we thought were simply ‘too big’ to begin working in vinyl at this stage of their careers (though Ryden’s planned piece makes us look blissfully forward to the day when no artist could be thought ‘too big’ to work in vinyl), for a couple of others we did a tiny bit of research and found that they would not be interested. Even though this poll is intended for the enjoyment of the VP readers rather than as market research for toy development, we nonetheless thought it made sense to exclude artists who were not likely ever to fulfill the readers’ wishes. Be aware however, that we have not confirmed with these ten artists that they would have any interest in working in vinyl (indeed mostly we have not contacted the artists at all – their participation in this poll is wholly involuntary).
We hope you enjoy the poll; we certainly had a blast putting it together. We started by assembling a list of possible artists, and only realized after we’d accumulated 216 names what a Herculean task this would be. Narrowing it down from 216 was not easy … and, by the time we had to cull the last few dozen ‘semifinalists’ down to these ten, every single cut was painful. Finally, our most heartfelt apologies for and to all the many immensely talented artists who were cut or missed entirely – this process was necessarily subjective. We have tried to offer a relatively broad variety of artistic styles, so you won’t see four different graff guys or a half-dozen modern surrealists here (although this also required some brutal cuts). The ten artists are presented in no particular order, and when the poll begins, it will include links back to each profile so it will be easy to check any that you may miss during the next two weeks.
So, enough with the drivel, let’s get to the fun part already: Here’s the Art …
The first artist for consideration is
[Based partially on Kristian Olson's official bio.]
Kristian Olson grew up in Orange County, California. He was a fairly decent kid whose major shortcomings were a love of illegal fireworks and a strong habit of doodling in class. Although he could never figure out a way to produce his own pyrotechnic devices on the cheap to turn a profit, he was able to turn his doodling addiction into a career as an illustrator and fine artist.
After studying design at the University of California at Los Angeles, and an eight year career as a freelance graphic designer, Olson has returned to his first love. With only three years under his belt as a professional artist his work has been accepted into the Communication Arts Illustration Annual twice (America's largest illustration competition), Canada's Applied Arts Photography and Illustration Annual, and 3x3's illustration annual. He has also been featured as a spotlight artist in MacUser, Computer Arts, and Taxi Design. In 2006 he was chosen as the cover artist for The Graphic Artists' Guild's Directory of Illustration #23.
Alongside Olson's intricate style of illustration he has also developed a mixed media technique for his personal and experimental work, which he is now showing in galleries. Combining elaborately designed digital artwork, giclée printing and acrylic paint, he creates otherworldly entities and structures that beg for exploration.
Check back tomorrow to view the next artist.
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