From left to right: Dente de Chien, Floating Monkey, and Yin Yan Rabbits and the Ring of Fire
Q: How long have you been painting?
A: I have been painting since my days in art school, so since I was twenty years old. Before then I did a lot of drawings in pencil color, or pen and ink, and some watercolor.
Q: What inspired you to get into the arts?
A: My dad is the reason why I went into the arts. My mom too. My dad is a cartoonist, successful, and supported a whole family with three kids. Both my parents have always been strong believers in following your dreams and your heart. Growing up I definitely did not want to be a cartoonist, because that would not give me the independence and own identity I was looking for. I described it as wanting to make posters. One image that told a story, or made you feel something. It wasn’t until I went to art school to become an illustrator that I realized that that meant for me to express myself as a painter, and I therefore went into fine art instead of graphic design/illustration.
Q: What was the first work of art you sold?
A: We had an art sale at Otis and I sold a couple of photo realistic paintings for $50 each. They were class assignments and exercises in rendering a collage into a realistically painted painting. They were really good, so good in fact, that it was hard to tell which one was the collage and which one was the painting. But I didn’t think much of it at the time.
Q: What are your favorite materials to work with?
A: For works on paper I like pens, fine tips to brush thickness. I also use watercolor and color pencils. They are a lot of fun because once you think you’re done, you are changing up the whole expression at the end when you start adding water to the dry color pencil. For my painting I favor oil. I wish I could favor acrylics, but I have tried and I cannot get it to do what oil is doing for me.
Q: What kind of art do you show in your house?
A: I do have some of my own work on my walls at home, and my husband Spencer’s photography. Other artists hanging on my walls are mostly LA painters and photographers, and friends of mine, such as Yoko Kanayama, Yaya Chou, Carol Es as well as Santa Fe artist, Darren Virgil Gray. There are also cartoons by my dad, Werner Wejp-Olsen.
Q: Who are some of your greatest influences?
A: Of contemporary artists I have found a great deal of inspiration from women artists like Louise Bourgoise, Annette Messenger, Yoko Ono… not that it is visible in what I make, but I have loved them for the humor and intelligence. Girl power. Recently I have looked to Peter Doig who paints abstractedly, while remaining a narrative painter. And to Asger Jorn, a Danish abstract expressionist painter, who was very uncompromising in his brushstrokes (as well as in his life.) Sometimes it is the energy of something or someone that gives you the drive to become a better painter in your own ways.