Curtis Olson


Curtis Olson Biography

Artist Statement

I am interested in creating powerful objects that live in the real (non-digital) world with weight and age.

My artworks embody multiple dualities that challenge the relationship between perception and actuality. They appear geometrically precise, yet a closer look reveals them to be made up of raw, unapologetically imperfect manual etchings, marks and gouges. They have a deliberate timelessness, feeling as if they could be significant ancient artifacts and yet modern at the same time.

These works are not abstractions, but instead are born from a world of ideas representing a myriad of influences and interests swirling in my over active brain. Ideas ranging from platonic geometry to aerial drone surveying and sensing. Global warming and depleting natural resources to Egyptian and Greek architectural proportioning. Buddhist philosophy to ancient archaeological objects (from the antikythera device to ancient pottery vessels),  And cartography and modern architectural aesthetics are just a few of the ideas informing these works.

I often incorporate geometry into my work, but it’s the circle that I return to most for its pure form and meaning. It can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself. The circle is a diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite; the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Describing both material and non-material realities, the circle appears in all aspects of our lives; from the orbits and shape of suns, planets and moons, to the cells composed of molecules composed of atoms that make us and everything around us.

Colors:  I often use color for it’s symbolic meaning. I’m attracted to both natural and decidedly non-natural saturated vibrating colors.

I love to be outdoors and nature provides a never ending inspiration for colors. I look to the sky, rocks, dirt, grasses and flowers on my hikes, bikes and skis.

For contrasting color combinations, inspiration comes from almost anywhere I look: Japanese animation, sports team jerseys, color field paintings of the 1940's and 1950's and T-shirt designs of the 1970’s.

Process and Media: My process is very labor intensive. I cut  in lines and create texture before applying wet paints to achieve a fresco effect to a micro-fine cement mixture on a wood panel. After drying and sanding, I etch, paint, dye, ink and repeat until achieving a satisfying design.


Curtis Olson is an artist living in Park City, Utah. In other incarnations he has worked as a writer, a designer, and an award winning architect whose wide-ranging projects span seven countries and combine cutting-edge design with environmentally sensitive planning and materials. Since turning full time to his art career, his work has shown both nationally and internationally and he has been awarded artist residencies and fellowships. He was awarded the individual Artist Fellowship by the Wyoming Arts Council. Olson’s art is held in many corporate and private collections, and in the permanent collections of the University of Wyoming Art Museum, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, and the Museum of Santa Barbara.

Curtis received an Architecture degree from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. He has studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Maryland – College Park and at the University of California - Berkeley.