Meet Olivia Throckmorton, our artist of the month. Olivia is a graphic artist, screen-printer, and musician who lives and works in Nashville, TN. Read our interview to learn about her process, how she got started, her influences, and why being uncomfortable is a good thing. Find more of Olivia's work on the internet at @oliviathrockmorton. And listen to her band, Mouth Reader, here.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Olivia. I make art that tries to encourage people to communicate and talk about the things they feel.
How long have you been making art?
Since I was a really little kid. I got into a performing arts school shortly before I had to move to Tennessee and that kind of propelled me into creating more. I didn't get to attend the school because of the move, but I started going to [Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp] the summer after and that's where I learned to play music and found some good resources for making art.
What’s the first thing you remember drawing?
I have no idea, honestly. I guess some of the first things I really drew were when I had an art tutor as a kid and we worked on some still life drawings.
When did you get into digitizing your illustrations?
My dad has always been into computers, so I had one from an early age. I pirated Adobe CS3 around age 13 and that's when I started getting into Digital Illustration. Later on in my first semester at MTSU, is when I really started getting into digital design and illustration. I had an amazing professor for a 2D design class that let us use computers for our assignments—most just make you do it by hand—and that's when I really started to learn a lot about it. He liked my work and really pushed me to get into graphic design. I'm super thankful for that experience, it's a gigantic portion of the reason I'm in this place now.
What’s the process like?
Nowadays, I keep it really simple. I actually draw on my phone A LOT and if I need to make something ready to screen print, I'll import it onto my computer in a really bare-bones style and work from there. I went for about a year without internet access or access to any of the Creative Suite, so I got very used to hand drawing or drawing on my phone. I also work a lot, so drawing on my phone is a good, easy way to draw with small amounts of time. Years ago I would spend a crazy amount of hours digitally designing, but since then my style has become much simpler; I guess as a result of the artists I've become more interested in since then. Especially, lately, I've been trying to work on designing things that are fairly simple to screen print.
How did you get involved with screenprinting?
I went to Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp when I was a kid and took the screen printing workshop for a few years there. I took a relief printing class in college and then started screen printing independently a little after that. I really only got back into it intensely when I started at Grand Palace!
When did you start working with Grand Palace?
Last June! It's been almost a year and I'm really happy about that.
What’s your favorite story from working there?
I'm not sure! Maybe when they called me in to work on my day off and then took us all to see Star Wars.
Have you always been into type design?
I never noticed it before I went back and looked at my notes from high school, but yes. I would get so bored that I would figure out how many minutes were left in the class and count them down by drawing the numbers in my notebook. In college, I had a professor that complimented my choice in type on a few projects, and I had a lot of people around me producing really great hand lettering, so I think that's what really made me jump into it. I started doing hand lettering a few years ago, just on a whim, and kind of fell in love with it. With type design, I can communicate feelings in a way that is quick and straightforward, so I think a lot of the allure is that I can get my point across easily.
What’s your favorite font?
Hmmmm. I'm not super into fonts, as I prefer to hand letter my own work, but Lost Type produces some fonts that I think are great. A lot of people use them, but I still think they're solid. Very straight forward, sans serif fonts are some of my favorites. Right now, a lot of the type that's in the Museum of Natural History comes to mind. Really simple, non-script fonts.
Who are some artists/pioneers/influencers you admire?
Oh man, so many. The first one that pops in my head is Wayne White. I love all of his word paintings, it seems like some people write them off, but I'm always so impressed with the way he blends the words in and duplicates the shadows that are already in the background. His use of color is something I also really admire. I'm not super into Robert Crumb, but that was one of the more absurdist artists that I first experienced. I also really like baroque art. It's so intricate! I used to be very into realism, but I'm just not that great at getting that level of detail.
Wayne White "Awopbopalubop"
R. Crumb "Polite"
Do you have any favorite themes among your work?
I think a lot of people know by now that I like drawing naked people. I think my point gets confused sometimes, but I make art hoping that it will make some people uncomfortable. I think being a little uncomfortable is good. A lot of people are weird about nudity (Surprisingly? Unsurprisingly?). I also try to focus on talking about emotions. I am an intensely emotional person, maybe to a fault, and drawing about it makes me feel so much better. I try to incite those feelings in other people. It would just be so much easier if we were all better about saying what we think! So much of the feedback I get on my art is people telling me that they can really relate to the things I post, which feels amazing. Making art that's relatable and has to do with things we might not all be comfortable with talking about at first is my ultimate goal. I know there are things in life I've felt very weird about, and being able to talk to someone openly about it and know that they've felt the same things has been so incredibly helpful for me. I want to help other people in that way.
If President Trump asked for one of your pieces, what would you give him? Would you give him anything?
I think I just wouldn't give him anything. I'm still having a really hard time coming to terms with this presidency. Maybe, if I could come up with something that would just make his head explode from having to use so much brain power.
Any favorite collaborations you’ve done?
I haven't really done a lot! I don't know if I can think of any at all actually. I always want to but rarely follow through. I have a few artists that I would love to collaborate with, though.
Where’s the best breakfast place in town?
Proper Bagel. I went there for the first time recently. I love cream cheese—like, for real—and they have so many options.
What are you working on now?
I have a few shirts that I'm trying to print soon. People seem to be really into my "This Butt Kills Fascists" shirts, so I'm going to reprint those and a few other things I have cooking. I'm also in two bands, so shows and band practices are keeping me really busy at the moment.
Where can we find more of your work?
I mostly post things to Instagram! I'm terrible at marketing myself. You can find me on Instagram as @oliviathrockmorton. Maybe someday I'll have a real website.
Anything you’re looking forward to?
Summer! I feel way more creative this time of year. I work a lot, so I don't find a lot of time to sit down and draw, but I always draw more in the summer. Also, really excited to have all these screen printing resources at my fingers now, too.
FOUND is a monthly series by Original Fuzz Magazine. We aim to discover visual artists from every corner of the world, no matter the background or creative vision. We believe it's not just what you do, but how you do it. All art is as important to our culture as music, words, news, science, even religion. FOUND celebrates the visual and those who create it, serving as a platform for the creative pioneers who embody Original Fuzz and our products.
FOUND is brought to you by Liz Earle, a writer who likes art. If you'd like to be a featured artist, let us know! Send a message to our editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.