We had the good fortune of connecting with Shara Oliman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shara, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I grew up on the East Coast and in the Midwest, with a family that encouraged big ideas, reading, creating, interacting with nature and traveling. My father is from South Africa and we always had an international experience. These adventures and memories were important to me and helped in shaping my identity. I was fortunate to experience various forms of art (theater, musical performances and creativity through cooking, to name a few). When it came time to choose a career, I found myself in NYC working in print media advertising with a degree in Journalism. Through that experience, I was surrounded by magazines and loved it. I also realized that I had a love for creative expression and presenting and teaching. This led me to pursue a MS Childhood Education. Then I became a parent, which was the ultimate teaching experience, and test of creativity. I needed to be able to have a creative outlet, in a time and space that allowed me to work from home. As an avid reader, I surrounded my children and myself with beautiful books to read aloud. I realized that I was drawn to paper in its many forms and found that collage was my perfect outlet for creative energy. It was an opportunity to work with a medium that really speaks to me while also recycling and giving an otherwise discarded product a new life. For me, collage became a way to use what was around me, incorporate my love for travel and color and print, and a way to express myself and help bring beauty into the world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Absolutely! As an impressionist paper collage artist, I use small pieces of paper (mostly magazine paper), instead of paint, to create my imagery. When it comes to paper, there is so much diversity in what I’m able to find. I love noticing different combinations of colors, textures and patterns. I think it’s amazing to take something that would be overlooked by many and transform it into something completely different. I love to see this paper through a whole new lens. It’s also fun to see the surprise when people realize a work of art they are drawn to was actually created entirely from magazines that they may have otherwise just recycled. Again, it makes people think. My collage work is very labor and time intensive, but by creating analog collages, I am thoughtfully choosing/touching/tearing each piece of paper individually. I think this intention transfers positive energy into each piece of art I make. Something I’ve learned along the way is how powerfully art impacts community and communication with others. It’s really neat how when an artist creates, in whichever form, the interpretation is open. You put out art from your soul, and others get from it what they need. We enrich our lives and connect this way. It’s so special.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Any best friend of mine would know that we’d be outside quite a bit during their visit and would most likely have a few children in tow. We would go for a walk and picnic at Lair o’ the Bear Park or take a daytrip to hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park and then stroll through Estes Park. We would visit the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to see the Bison and head over the enjoy Stanley Marketplace for unique, small business shopping and dinner. I love the richness of arts and culture that the Denver area has to offer and I am still discovering and exploring myself! I would make sure to support several of our cultural institutions during any visit with out-of-town guests, like spending time at the Denver Art Museum or the Museum of Nature and Science, and I would make sure to plan for live music or a summer concert at the Botanic Gardens.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so grateful to my loving family and close friends who have encouraged me to pursue my passion, and also, to my collectors, for appreciating my work and supporting the arts.
Emilyanne Photography and Brian Birlauf Photography
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