Charmaine Olivia

Charmaine Olivia is best known for her hypnotic paintings of female forms that are brought to sensual life through surrealistic icons & symbols. In her upcoming show Ritual, at Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, she continues to explore the themes of magic and earth energies through a series of imagined females. The reception for this exhibit of all new works will be Saturday, Jan 14th from 7-11pm.

Charmaine will be transforming the gallery into a temple of altars for her demigods; each surrounded by installations of magical items, and other smaller artworks that pay homage to the central female.


Cora, 2011 – new work for Ritual


A few of the smaller pieces artfully placed around her studio.


Various detail shots of her paintings during my studio visit.


Ink & marker drawings she was working on.


Every pieces revealed a meticulous attention to detail. Whether it’s precise scrollwork on an ink drawing or the loving strokes of painted hair.


The painting she was working on when I stopped by for a visit.


One of the many ink drawings she’s created. This one is still available as a limited edition print.


How nice… all purchases from her store also come with free stickers.


Suicide Blond, 2011 – shown at Spoke Art’s September Group Show a few months ago.
A fantastic Hi-Fructose interview done for the Spoke Art show can be read HERE.

I am a big fan of Charmaine’s unabashedly sensual paintings & drawings, and I have followed her content rich tumblr for a long time. She is one artist who I can say truly embodies her work and in many ways IS her work. Looking at her lush tumblr feed is a peek into her mind, which is overfull with stylishly naked women, skulls, lace, alchemy, haute couture, shimmering water, ravens, incense, palmistry, potions, smoldering embers, dewy flowers, witchcraft, and all things dark and mysterious.


Random screen grab from her tumblr – part 1

Her perspective is seductively feminine and deliciously entwined with haunting symbolism. She effortless caresses the face of death while dancing topless in the light of the sun. Like a breath of dusky soil during the sunrise on a crisp winter’s day, her tumblr is a delight for the senses.


Random screen grab from her tumblr – part 2

My partner, Jason Mitchell & I (aka: Purebred) recently invited Charmaine to participate in our on-going artist portrait series. In honor of her solo show, Ritual, we also decided to create a short film plus a series a short animated gifs for her tumblr. I visited her to talk about this show and how it might manifest as a portrait. Her studio is a lovely light-filled space, decorated with well chosen objects and artifacts. It was not hard to pull together a few boxes of amazing pieces that I whisked off to my studio to be used on the set for her portrait.


Little known fact… Charmaine has an old organ in her studio… ’cause she’s cool like that.

Below is the loose sketch I made to roughly explain how the set would feel. Underneath is a photo of the dressed set. Even though the set itself was not that big (approx 4′ high by 12′ wide) it was jam-packed with lush textures and abundant details.

A variety of detail shots of the set I created. It was overfull with amazing objects, many of which were owned by Charmaine personally. Some of the more special pieces were on loan from two of my other all time favorite designer/curators, JL Schnable aka: Bloodmilk and Audra Kunkle aka: Loved to Death.

NOTE: These photos were all shared on my twitter/instagram (hence the square crops!) You may view more behind-the-scenes pictures from this and other shoots at @hld4ransom
You can also find Jason, my partner in crime at Purebred, on twitter/instagram at @impureacts


More instagram moments…
top left:
Charmaine & Jason reviewing the images. For those of you who must know – yes, she was topless all day.
top right: a birds eye view of Charmaine on-set from our green room
bottom left: my view of Charmaine as she lifted bones off of the Ouija board I was holding. The board did not show in the film, but seriously, what else should one hold ritual bones upon?
bottom right: Charmaine on set during the filming of her short video portrait

We are thrilled that Charmaine is a part of our on-going artist portrait series. Below is one of two photo portraits of her from the session. We will be releasing the second portrait image from this shoot in our upcoming Sept 2012 solo show at Varnish Fine Art.

…and we are pleased to relase this short film of her, titled in honor of her show, “Ritual: Charmaine Olivia.”

Jason and I rarely work alone. Like most of our other shoots, an amazing crew came together to create these images and we are grateful for their participation.

Christine Molcillo of Black Lotus Clothing : wardrobe designer  -  website / facebook
Alicia Marie Campbell : make-up designer and key assist on the headdress – facebook
JiHyun Kim : hair designer – website / facebook
Jesse Dana : Gaffer & 1st AC – website / facebook / twitter
Maria Bernal-Silvia : project manager - IMDb / facebook / twitter


A lovely photo of Charmaine during her portrait shoot on the set I made at Purebred.

If you are in San Francisco, I hope you will stop by the opening at Shooting Gallery, Saturday, Sept 14th and show this talented artist some love.


Photo by Eva Kolenko.

Thank you again for your time Charamine! Jason Mitchell and I found it a pleasure to collaborate with you!