Graphic designer Olson latest feature at Farnham

by Sarah KellerStaff Writer

Farnham Galleries, located in Mary Berry, hosts a variety of artists’ work. Currently Tim Olson’s work is hanging in the gallery. It will be on display until Jan. 30. Olson is one of the six artists that will be featured this year.

Olson was asked if he would want to have a show in Farnham Gallery after a faculty member met him at a party and saw some of his work.

“His [Olson’s] art is unique,” David Richmond, associate professor of art, said. “I really like his work. I really enjoy it.”

According to Olson, his work is a mix between “Cartoon-Expressionism,” “Na’ve-Academic,” and “Picturesque-Messiness.” His work is mixed media with the use of paint sticks, chalk, crayons, pen and ink.

There is not a main theme to Olson’s show, but he said there are elements that carry over from one picture to the next. Olson likes to portray humor in his pieces.

“Humor is an important element,” Olson said. “That’s part of the way I see the world and comes out in the drawings no matter how hard I try to tamp it down.”

Olson has not always used drawing as his medium of choice. He graduated from the University of Iowa, where he studied photography. He later worked in photography studios in Chicago and then moved to Dubuque with his family where he finished his Master of Arts at Loras College. He now works as a graphic designer.

Olson’s newest paintings usually turn out to be his favorite ones, and it usually takes quite a few tries to make a masterpiece.

“For me the best idea is rarely the first idea, it’s much more likely to be the thirteenth idea,” Olson said. “Ed Ruscha, who is an artist I admire, said the reaction he aims for with his art is a kind of, ‘Huh? Wow!’ It’s a goal I share, though one that’s not easy to achieve”.

Junior art major Karin Jackson said Olson’s work was on par with that of past artists who’ve been displayed at the gallery.

“I did like his art,” Jackson said. “I thought his use of color was really good. The texture was also really captivating.”

According Richmond, artists are chosen from a number of ways to have a show in the gallery. It could be from word of mouth and asking an artist to put up a show, or an artist could turn in a CD of their work and ask to have a show in Farnham.

The art faculty comes together every year to discuss who should have their work displayed Normally Justin Nostrala, professor of art and head of the art department, who is on sabbatical, is in charge of putting together shows.

“The artists aren’t just from the Simpson community,” Richmond said. “We have had international artists; people known all over the world show here. We have had an all-faculty show in the past, and we have senior art shows.”

According to sophomore Katelyn Teachout, Olson’s work was not her favorite out of the artists that have come, but she did enjoy the “cartoony” affect that Olson portrayed within his pictures.

“I think we need more support, not just in the art community per say,” Teachout said. “We need to get the word out there that there’s brilliant artists, and they would love if you would come to their show, and there is also cheese and crackers at the openings as a great incentive”.

Richmond says anyone is invited to come to the shows that are featured in the gallery. Richmond would like to see more people come to the shows to have more diversity of the student body, not just art majors, to support the artists. He said it’s a unique opportunity that not all college students have.

Olson agreed.

“The process was wonderful,” Olson said. “Not every school has a gallery like this, or a program to bring in artists. It was wonderful to be included.”