Olivia Steele is conceptual visual artist, born in 1985 in Tennessee, US. Her style of expression is presented in form of using neon glass light installation to send ironic and spiritual messages therefore questioning modern culture in its core. As big fan of contrast and contradiction that presents itself in nature and life, Olivia tempts our innate preconceptions, and by doing that somewhat toys with them. She challenges conventional semiotics leaving vast space for interpretation.
Olivia moved to Europe when she was 14. While she was a child, she traveled a lot to Italy where she started going to college and university in Lugano, Switzerland. In Lugano, Steele studied Visual Communication and after that did a minor in psychology. After awhile she moved to London to study a course of lighting design, but that didn’t occupied her interest much as quote “it turned out to be really boring…” Inspired by her father’s truisms and witnessing piece by Tracy Emin with neon lights, she decided to honor her father with putting those truisms to life, using, guess – neon light.
Using wide range of mediums such as rivers, walls, taxidermy and photos for communication with audience, Steele evokes thinking in recipient, by enlightening scenery with neon light writings. She also exploit iconic images such as explosion of atomic bomb and symbols like cross, with intention to provoke our own reflections, by expressing her own. Fueled with belief that in every moment of reflection lies a hidden and unforeseen emotion and force, she’s exhibiting her own conviction concerning the role of art as it can be shown in her own words: “Good, bad, right or wrong, it’ s all relative. Art is notoriously ambiguous. The art of challenging conventional semiotics and observing the vast spectrum of strangers’ reactions and interpretations is highly rewarding“.
Vowing to return neon to its roots, a selection of Steele’s finest works has been exhibited in public spaces in London. Selection is titled “Public display of affection” during the Frieze Art festival. Soon her artwork became beacons spanning the city – “A yellow brick road of illuminating lyrical sculpture”.
Olivia is also a co-founder and creative director of “Pret a dinner” that, in a way, works a support to her general artistic endeavours. In addition, she is animal lover, true traveller, the artist now lives between London and Berlin.