We had the good fortune of connecting with Olive Moya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olive, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
As a angsty teenager I scoffed at the idea of making art my career; I didn’t want anyone telling me how to create. Luckily for my stubborn young self, my parents knew I was wrong. They brought me to check out an art school, and a switch flipped for me. I knew there was nothing else that could give me that particular sense of purpose and joy. I think creativity is what sets our species apart from animals. Art can change people. It has the ability to invoke stories and emotions, educate and make people think. Physically using my hands to make something that intellectually and emotionally stimulates me is a gift. I’ve always wanted to spend the majority of my time doing it and (at least for this moment in time), I’m able to.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m primarily a painter, but recently have started experimenting with sculptural work. I also paint murals; I love to work big and I’m passionate about bringing art to those who might not normally enter an art space. My work is colorful, abstract and sometimes incorporates photography or lettering. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure what sets me apart from others. With everything online now, I’m painfully aware of how other makers influence me and how impossible it seems to create something original. That being said, I’m very proud of how hard I work and how much thought I put into the things I do. I look forward to giving myself more time to think so that it can influence my practice. I’ve recently lacked balance in that way and think a lot about how much pressure there is to create something new NOW, everyday. Work worth making and sharing can take time, years even, and I want to encourage myself not to succumb to societal pressure but give the work the effort it deserves. Getting to where I’m currently at professionally took a lot of consistent effort. I shifted many times for years, and often tried to make peace with the idea that I might never accomplish what I wanted to. During a really difficult personal period for our family, I had to find a way to make money so I started my own business working with dogs. It was my main priority for awhile but I kept making art when I could. Somehow, this is when I started getting offered more mural projects and people purchasing my work. For a couple years up until the pandemic, I juggled two separate and very different businesses (on top of being a new mom). After COVID, I could not enter people’s homes to work with their dogs, I ended up being so busy with art in 2020 that I couldn’t possible manage both even if I wanted to. It felt like someone let me in the back door. I’d been trying so hard to build my art career, and it wasn’t until I almost gave up that I started getting somewhere. The only string holding all of it together has been working hard because it matters to me. I want people to connect with what I make in a genuine way. I want to challenge myself with new concepts and materials. I don’t really care as much about what people know about me or my story, but I do want my work to have an impact of some sort. And I want to personally have connections to the art community and spend my time learning about other artist’s work and sharing it with others. The art world can be competitive but I think we’re made to believe that because it benefits certain people, and I’d like to think we can shift that.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ll preface this with: If we weren’t still in a pandemic, and it were summer…. I’d spend at least a few days in the mountains camping and hiking. There’s a spot we love to go near a town called Rifle (a bit past Glenwood Springs) that is gorgeous and not too crowded. Since my best friends all love art, of course we would visit Denver Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, and as many galleries as possible: Leon Gallery, K Contemporary, B.L.A.C. Gallery, Dateline, Robischon Gallery, etc. We’d try to hit as many restaurants as possible: Hop Alley, Safta, Onefold, Dio Mio, La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas, Uncle, Osaka, Annette, Leven Deli, Seoul Korean BBQ, Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Ultreia, Zocalito, El Five, Snarfs, Daughter Thai, Rosenburg’s Bagels, and of course Beckon if we happen to just have money and reservations laying around. Drinks at Fort Greene, The Family Jones, Infinite Monkey Theorem, Odell’s, Stem Ciders, Death & Co., and Sunday Vinyl. We’d try to stop in at my favorite shops too: Meek Vintage, Queen City General, Sacred Thistle, Shop at MATTER, Modern Nomad, and FM.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family is the only reason I’m able to do what I do. My parents always nurtured my creativity as a kid, introduced me to the possibility of art school, and continue to support me in every way. My mom helps watch my son many days when I’m working and my dad builds my panels and is my assistant when I have big murals to paint. My husband is the yin to my yang, helping me to take a breath and slow down, take time for myself and recharge. He jumps in to handle all the life stuff when work is overwhelming and encourages me when things (inevitably) get messy or slow or frustrating or (add adjective here) because working for yourself is a rollercoaster. And shoutout to my 3 year old son for being the light of my life.