Making old things new: Reclaimed items get a beautiful new life in Olivia Anderson's art studioBy CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,
Tue, 01/02/2018 - 5:08pm
When most people look at old reclaimed wood, window panes, and rusted metal, they don't see much, but one local artist takes these pieces and turns them into beautiful works of art.
Olivia Anderson, owner of OAnderson Art LLC., has been bringing new life into old things for over six years.
Originally from Lexington, Olivia is the daughter of Phil and Lisa Williamson. She is married to Fenton Anderson, and has three children, 7-year-old Reece Vaughn, 3-year-old Fen, and 10-week-old Eliza Drue.
Olivia said that she has always loved art; even from an early age she remembers drawing.
"My mom says that I drew on her nightstand a beautiful picture when I was two, and she said that she knew I would be an artist because I drew on everything – even the walls," said Anderson.
Art came naturally to Olivia because her mother possesses the same talents, though their styles differ greatly from each other.
Olivia's favorite medium to work with is acrylic paint, and she uses a variety of reclaimed hardware in her art.
"Everything that I paint on is reclaimed," said Anderson,"I rarely go buy any wood. I use pretty much everything that I find, and I think that definitely makes my work a little more unique."
Olivia added that although there are a lot of artists who paint barns and churches, she feels that she makes herself stand out more by painting directly onto the frame as part of the artwork.
Olivia's journey with OAnderson Art started over six years ago with a booth in Downtown Marketplace when her daughter Reece was a baby.
"I started out doing big windows," said Anderson, "Any paint I could get my hands on I would just paint on them."
Olivia's artistic method is unique. Instead of a paintbrush, she uses a palette knife to create layers of texture with paint, adding in the finer details with a brush at the end. Olivia has also created an assembly line method to mass produce her work to meet the demands of her wide customer base.
"I will make 60 at a time," said Anderson, "A lot of times, during a really busy season, I will get 60 boards cut. I will lay them all the way down both sides of my studio like an assembly line."
Using this method, Olivia can make different varieties of each piece in different colors in a shorter amount of time to meet customer orders.
Olivia said she is inspired by all things old and loved bringing them back to life.
"I like to be able to reuse these things, and I think turning them into artwork makes them beautiful," she said.
The subjects in OAnderson Art range from churches and barns, to floral and animal scenes. Most of her private commissions start from pictures or other special artifacts her customers give her. Olivia’s art also sometimes contains Christian influences, such as Bible verses or lyrics from hymns.
"A lot of those old hymns remind me of this little old church in Sand Hill that my grandmother went to when I was little," said Anderson. "I love thinking back on those memories when I paint those hymns."
Some of her favorite subjects to paint are things that are special to other people, such as a church where a couple got married with song lyrics from their first dance. She also loves the tear-filled happiness and excitement from customers when they receive their commissioned artwork.
Over the past few years, OAnderson Art has gained momentum and popularity. Her work is currently featured and sold in stores all over Mississippi and Alabama, including places such as Accents in Hattiesburg, Sweet Pineapple in Birmingham and Huntsville, Farmhouse in Canton, The Gathering at Livingston, and the Garage Studio in Point Clear, Ala.
Olivia has also had booths at various markets such as Handworks in Jackson, and often has special sales on her Facebook page with links to purchase online.
Over the years, Olivia has experimented in other forms of art for children, such as painting mini-cheerleader shoes and art boxes and lunch boxes for school, and making furniture, but her most successful venture had been launching a line of textiles in a variety of prints.
"I started painting on pillows, like painting on canvas, and then getting them made into pillows with different fabric on the backs, and those went really well," said Anderson, "I could not keep up with the demand so I found a company that would print them. So far it’s been going well."
The OAnderson Art textiles are currently available in shower curtains, duvet covers, pillows, cell phone covers, and many other objects. Olivia currently has about 10 different textiles being printed, and plans to add 10-12 new prints in the coming years.
This year, Olivia experienced a high demand for items in her Christmas line, including boards depicting wise men, and a various Nativity ornaments.
Another one of Olivia's favorite ventures with OAnderson Art has been doing art camps and painting parties for adults and children.
"I feel like the kids around here need something like that," she said, "I have been doing pumpkin painting for several years and the kids and adults really loved it, so I think I will continue doing that."
Olivia had this to say to other new or aspiring artists: "Definitely keep it original. Go with what you are thinking or feeling. Don't be afraid to try new things or new techniques with your art or to go outside your comfort zone. Even if it’s not the norm, if it works for you then go for it."
Commissions are available to individuals by appointment only. Olivia currently has several commissions under way and prefers that customers email their requests. She also mentioned that turnaround time can vary from two days to two weeks depending on the size and nature of the work commissioned.
For more information about Olivia Anderson and her work, email her at email@example.com, or visit the OAnderson Art Facebook page.