Born 1982, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Working with painting, printmaking and sculpture, Erik Olson balances the scientific and the poetic as he visualizes his life. People and experiences that are familiar to the artist become the subject of works that question our presumptions and our perception of the world. The painted figures that populate his canvases are likened to characters in mystery plays, each flaunting their own constructed personas and exuberant color. As portraits continue to be a central focus of his practice, his curiosity often leads to a variety of content across multiple scales: from the subconscious psychology of the sitter, to the windswept landscapes of America, to the scale of the planets and the vast cosmos. For Olson, painting and image making are a continuing method to explore and expand upon an understanding of reality.
Erik Olson has lived a nomadic life, having been raised in Calgary, Boston, and Nairobi as a child. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver in 2007. From 2014 to 2016, he attended the acclaimed Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a guest student of Peter Doig. Olson has been the subject of solo exhibitions in major cities across Canada, the United States, and Europe. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz, ELLE Canada, The London Free Press, London Yodeller, and The Telegraph, Artillery Magazine, among others. He currently lives and works in Calgary, Canada.