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Artist of the Week — Lindsey Olivares

February 22, 2010 by · 2 comments

Interview with Lindsey Olivares by Yana Radilova

Lindsey Olivares: “It takes an artistic eye to see the subtlety in life”

Lindsey Olivares

Do you remember how and when you got interested in art?

I’ve been interested in art since I could hold a pencil. As a little girl I drew constantly and always loved creating. I come from a very encouraging and creative family. My older sister Brooke Olivares is also an artist, and working as a freelance illustrator. She was always inspiring to me growing up. We both loved Disney movies, it was so amazing just knowing that all those characters were moving drawings.

I really wanted to be and artist or animator for a studio making work like that. I was interested in all the possibilities with art…all the things you could create, ideas to share, or stories to tell with an image. At a young age I liked art as a medium to spread a message. I found myself entering a lot of poster contests in grade school, some had pretty open themes where I’d generally do art about saving the rain forest, or world peace.


I also participated in a lot of poster contests for organizations like MADD. My elementary school had a fine arts magnet education program for 3rd -6th grade that really fostered that creativity and artistic expression in children. I learned of a lot of poster contests through our schools art program, and it really felt like you could say something with your art.

I also grew up listening to a ton of Michael Jackson songs. His songs like “Black or White”, “Man in the Mirror” and “Earth Song” really speak of the messages he wanted to share with the world. As a kid he was really the only music I knew and considered myself a fan of, and in hindsight I think I was influenced by that concept of promoting a good message through your talents.


What were your first steps in your career as an artist?

My first step towards making my dreams a reality started with going to school for art. I attended Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida to study computer animation. Ringling has a very prestigious and rigorous program and really helped me develop the skill sets needed to start a career in the animation industry.

After my sophomore year at Ringling College I had the opportunity to intern at Walt Disney Animation Studios as an art intern specializing in visual development and character design. I grew tremendously from this experience and was so inspired to tell stories and create strong character in my work.


In my final year at Ringling College I worked on my senior thesis film “Anchored” which I submitted to film festivals, such as “Siggraph Asia” where it was awarded best of show. I was fortunate to receive great feedback from the film. After graduation I started at DreamWorks PDI where I am currently working as a visual development artist.

Most of your works are rather original and extraordinary. What gives you such a great power of imagination?

Creativity and imagination come naturally. I think it’s something that artists are born with. A lot comes from observation and how we observe and interpret the world around us. There’s a lot that people don’t take the time to appreciate. When you slow down to absorb what you see in your life, it’s easy to be surrounded by inspiration.


A lot of my works all stem from feelings and situations in my own life. They are more romanticized and exaggerated, but the moods, characters, and ideas are based in my reality. It just takes imagination and heart to paint them in a beautiful way.

When working on stories, I’ll start with some spark either a specific character, set up, or moment. It’s always easier for me to work when I have a clear idea of my concept or moral to the story. So I try to make sense of that, then form meaning and symbolism in the story. As I create I’ve really felt like God has a hand in my story ideas. As I’m working the stories always become very relevant to my own life and I feel like I’m learning a lot, not necessarily artistically, just learning life lessons from the story’s moral that’s revealing itself through my artwork.


Can you identify your personality with some of your sketches?

Yes. Naturally everyone puts themselves into their own artistry. I think a lot of my characters subconsciously get some of my own qualities and expressions. I think you need to pull from what you know in order for something to be real. And who do you know better than yourself. My characters in my stories are pulled from different emotions and experiences I have been in. There’s a lot of me in all my work.


What is the most difficult emotion to express?

It’s probably most difficult to express an emotion you are unfamiliar with, something you haven’t felt strongly. I’m not sure if there’s an emotion that’s generally harder to express…maybe emotions like shame, regret and embarrassment. I think most people can easily feel or make someone else feel sadness, happiness, boredom, or anger.

Emotions are hard to adequately express. I think as the artist you only do half the work.The viewer just has to relate to it and feel something. You need to give them something real to believe and identify. with, and they’ll bring their personal memories and experiences. Then they’ll connect with your story and really feel the emotions.


What qualities are necessary to make an ideal sketch?

An ideal sketch needs a vision of the overall mood and idea your trying to express on paper. You need that overarching idea so that the draftsmanship and drawing quality are part of something meaningful. It takes an artistic eye to see the subtlety in life and be able to edit it in a way that leads your eye throughout the piece in an appealing way, and to depict feeling and mood visually. You need to understand those subtleties and details enough to exaggerate and caricature things in a way that makes them take on a life and harmony. Overall whenever drawing and creating you need a lot of heart and passion to get through the process and make something beautiful.


Do you think videos are more expressive than pictures?

Not necessarily. Both are great mediums but lend themselves to different types of stories. You can tell a story in a moment with in a painting or photo. Look at Norman Rockwell’s illustrations that tell such entertaining stories with great personality in one single illustration. Other stories are better suited for film. Film can so strongly connect with an audience on multiple levels.

I’ll meet you in the Middle from lindsey olivares on Vimeo.

I`ll meet you in the Middle

The great thing with film is the many tools at your disposal as a filmmaker…sound effects, music, shots, pacing, acting, etc all enhance the story being told. Both are great, just different options depending on what you want to express and what format that particular idea best lends itself too.

What message do you send to viewers through your art?

I think a lot of my work is about gaining perspective. I have one major short film, and a couple rough animatics for shorts online. Most of those deal with a shift from a negative to positive outlook. They’re all different stories, but most my ideas aren’t so situational or comedic. They’re a little more poetic, like emotion/mood vignettes.


In a few of my shorts I show a shift towards growth and learning. I want people to learn from my art, to see the beauty in life’s situations and to feel inspired. I want to send a message of hope and to appreciate the joy in the lives we’re living.

Do you think that art can change the world?

I’d like to think so, we’re always surrounded by art even when we’re unaware of it…design, advertisement, music, posters, interior design, etc. Art is in the media, people are influenced by media and the images we take in. Art is a broad word, art can be visual, music, or performing art.

I think the arts really have so much power to make people feel. People are hooked into art all the time whether its through music, movies, pictures, novels, or tv. We like to escape through art, through other people’s stories. All these mediums have so much power to make people feel something. The right music, mood, or colors can make someone sad, angry, happy and so fourth. I think if we, as artists, step up and use our art effectively to voice something worth saying, we can have a positive impact and change the world.

A Sofa Story from lindsey olivares on Vimeo.

A sofa story

What advice would you give to your followers?

Be passionate, follow your heart. Spend your life being inspired…not necessarily doing grand things, but seeing the grand things and inspiration in the small things. Create more, and enjoy creating. Create for the right reasons, share things with people, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and to love what you do.

What is your greatest ambition at the present time?

Currently my greatest ambition is to make short films. I recently finished my thesis film “Anchored”. It was the greatest project I ever worked on. Working on it was so stressful, exciting, and addicting. I loved making my own film. After completion, being able to share it with an audience was such a blessing. I received so much wonderful feedback and a lot of emotional response. It means the world to me to hear that someone can feel uplifted and happy from watching my film.

Anchored from lindsey olivares on Vimeo.


I’m craving to do more work like that in the future. There’s so much you can do artistically and so much I want to do. Right now I’m working at an animation studio and I’d love to grow within the company and someday have a career as a character designer or production designer/art director sort. But I’d like to try a lot in my life, freelancing, traditional painting, teaching, and experimenting. There’s a lot of possibilities…but my greatest ambition right now is to just share my own stories with an audience, uplifting and inspiring people.


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