DROUIN gallery and café The Red Fox’s upcoming exhibition has caught the eye of people around the world, and it isn’t even finished yet.
Above: Oh no, they got Kamahl! Wendy Olsen stands with a small selection of her octopus-ed items.
This article was first published in the 10 October 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Artist and proprietor Wendy Olsen has been busy painting octopuses on everything from furniture and trolleys to paintings and records, all sourced from local opportunity shops.
Ms Olsen told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the previews of the exhibition she had posted online had resulted in interest and sales from people across the world.
“Everything that I’ve shown on the internet so far has sold or had commissions taken from it,” she said.
“I’ve got several paintings going to America and one going to Wales. “Some of my pictures have been copied and shared by several people and put onto international octopus art collection websites. I had no idea [those existed] until I got an email from one of my Facebook fans.”
Asked what her inspiration for the exhibition was, Ms Olsen said she wasn’t sure.
“I’m not 100 per cent exactly sure why I chose octopuses,” she said.
“I was going through the op shop and I saw a picture and I thought ‘that looks like it needs an octopus,’ so I bought it and several others and have slowly, over the last couple of weeks, added octopuses to everything.
“I like that they can blend into any situation, they are very flexible, they have eight arms – they can do lots of stuff!”
The cephalopods do indeed blend well into many of Mary’s subverted paintings, which look as if the newly-added octopuses were always a feature of the works. But this style of art is new for Ms Olsen.
“This is a new direction in upcycling,” she said.
“I like the idea of turning something old and discarded into something that’s new and aesthetically pleasing.”
It’s a direction she has enjoyed taking, and will look to undertake similar projects in the future.
“I’ve got a million ideas racing through my head at the moment.”
Ms Olsen said while people liked the idea, not everyone was fond of the subject matter.
“Some people find octopuses really gross,” she said.
“They’re kind of mysterious and creepy, there’s no visible mouth, they just seem to be eyes and tentacles.”
If you want to see Ms Olsen’s octopuses, you can visit the Red Fox Gallery at the Old Drouin Butter Factory from Thursday 16 October to Saturday 29 November.
You can also find a small number of previews of her works at the Wendy Olsen Art Facebook page.
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