About the Artist
I am a self-taught, Austin-based, abstract mixed media artist originally from Washington, D.C. I retired in 2011 after 35 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development and was thrilled to return to painting, photography and pottery. I am an entertainer, an accomplished jazz singer, band leader and musician who has performed extensively throughout the U.S. for over a decade along with my band The Nia Olabesi Trio. I'm honored to be part of the awesome art community here in Austin, TX.The arts have always been my passion from a young age. I grew up in a family of artists, musicians, singers, dancers and designers. I can't imagine my life without the arts. As a painter working in acrylic mixed media and collage I find that I express my art much like my songs and dance. Sometimes it's a samba, other times Afro Cuban Jazz. Brush strokes, knife markings, and palette become movement and rhythm. Abstract techniques open to improvisation, literally unleashing my inner voice to spill out onto the canvas in living color. Entertaining the imaginations of the viewers to experience their own interpretations of the work, is icing on the cake!
Whenever I’m in my studio painting, I love to listen, sing and dance to the music of Juan Formell y Los Van Van. The percussions alone are so energizing, I quickly set-up a station for action painting.I’m greatly influenced by the art and artists of Abstract Expressionism, a development of art originated in New York in the 1940’s and 1950’s and aimed at subjective emotional expression with particular emphasis on the creative spontaneous act (e.g., action painting). Leading figures were Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning. Working with acrylic bold colors, mediums, pastes and gels inject rhythm, movement and fun into my art. Exploring a vast range of textures and exploring various layering techniques keep me engaged and wanting more. Discovering and experimenting with all sorts of mixed media and collage elements greatly entertain my imagination while building vocabulary. "Art Is Freedom Free Yourself"Nia Olabesi