Tim Olsen

Director Olsen Gallery & Author

Tim is now Author of a best selling book ‘Son of the Brush’ . I loved hearing Tim’s Remedy for Artists – you can see why being author was a natural next step! 

Art shown in gallery is Sophie Cape ‘Soliloquy’ – Showing at Olsen Gallery

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Guest

TIm Olsen

Director Olsen Gallery

Tim Olsen, Directory Olsen Gallery, is one of Australia’s most recognised and respected art identities and successful gallery owners. Son of Australia’s national living treasure, artist Dr John Olsen, A.O. O.B.E., Olsen was born into a life of modern and contemporary art, and through fortitude and adversity has forged his own path, successful career and has become a highly recognised Australian over the past three decades. 

Transcription:

MRS V: 00:00:00  We are AGERICH because we create remedies for life made by life. I’m Scarlet Vespa, a.k.a. MRS V, and founder of AGERICH.Co your go-to place for AGERICH remedies to help you find love, get rich, awaken your intuition, and feel free. So now, let’s open the remedy kit and discover why we’re all AGERICH.

 

MRS V: 00:00:21  So what is the artist’s remedy? I know for myself that I consider myself an artist. I write, I
draw, I sing, I do art in my creations for branding, and I consider we’re all creative artists in our own lives, whatever that may be, but what I’ve learned and what I wanted to share with you is my remedy as an artist would be to number one, stay in your lane. So often we compare ourselves, and I know when I’m scrolling through social media, or I’m looking at different designs and platforms, I go, oh, so amazing. How can I do anything like that? Or, oh my goodness. And in fact, I get overwhelmed because there is so much good stuff.
And I think, well, what value am I going to bring? I mean, it’s just one thing: bother, you know, et cetera, the brain, and another “I’m not good enough” come up. 

 

MRS V: 00:01:17  And so I’ve just learned that staying in my lane is not to compare and see it as just full self-expression that, uh, one person does make a difference. And whoever that is for whoever experiences it might be yourself could be just a family friend, whoever sees it and feels that sense of expression and love or whatever it is for you, whatever emotion, that’s enough. And number two is to keep moving. Sometimes, when I sit down to do a project, I don’t know where to start. And sometimes we can walk away and go, look, it’s too big. Where do I start? I start by moving in some way. There’ll be a doorway that you can go through. My doorway is I start looking at the images. I’ll scroll through, find an image, or if I’m doing branding, I’ll look through fonts. 

 

MRS V: 00:02:14  So I look through other people’s work. I keep moving, and I’ll see something I like and start playing with it. To see how there’s a kind of a, a flow feeling that forms. And cause if you think about the big picture, often there’s an overwhelming, but if you start small and see it as like a doorway into the space that you’re going to, that normally never fails. And then number three is to allow yourself processing space. I think, for me, who’s a doer I think that’s been a big one is to sit in the space of, allowing myself the time to formulate. Because what we forget is when we create something, whatever it is, it begins to form its entity, energy, and life force. And you have to give it time to build. 

 

MRS V: 00:03:07  So even the act of owning and articulating that first sentence of I’m going to do this, or I am going to create this artwork or this project or this business, whatever you are creating that will set it off in motion. So you have to keep moving it. Yes. But you also have to allow it to form its space and come up with its kind of identity. It’s kind of a miracle what happens. So yeah, give it some time, some processing time as well. So that’s the artist’s remedy that I formed in my lifetime. So I hope that helps. And I’m so excited now to introduce Tim Olson to you, founder of Olson gallery, we’ve known each other for a long time, and it’s just been a joy to see how who he is as a person has grown in being able to kind of share with the world, uh, who he is and his great point of view on art and artists. He is the ultimate artist coach because he sees all. So, Tim Olsen and I are talking about the artist’s remedy without further ado. 

 

MRS V: 00:04:23  So Tim, tell me, what is your life remedy? You know, you’ve lived alive so far; what would you advise people? What have you learned? What’s it like? 

 

TIM: 00:04:34  I think life’s remedy was not to concern yourself with the opinion of others, but I think to be more centered, and it often comes naturally with age. But, when I stopped drinking, started meditating, and started realizing that I was in charge of everything, myself, most of the perceptions that I had regarding what was happening to me in life were my responsibility and that I had to change my attitude. That life was happening for me, not to me. 

 

MRS V: 00:05:22  Oh, I love that because it’s like you get your power back. 

 

TIM: 00:05:25  Yeah, yeah, yeah. To be virtuous is to realize that even the harsh lessons, you know, a great ex great experiences regarding you becoming a better person. And learning how to deal with things and cohabitate with other people, even if they’re difficult. But to change the fact that, you know, it gets back to the cliches of gratitude that, you know, I wake up every day and I go, wow. You know, look what I’ve got, you know, and it’s not necessary to do with assets; it’s to do with the integration of interesting people and, and just being able to live a lifestyle it’s not really to do with the money it’s to do with being able to enjoy life from the point of view of, it never been boring. And I think my greatest fear in life has always been boredom. 

 

MRS V: 00:06:17  Oh. Really? I didn’t know that about you. We go back a long time.

 

TIM: 00:06:22  We do. 

 

MRS V: 00:06:25  And what I’ve loved about you and seeing who you are is you are very spiritual, you know, which you know, which is where we meet too, in that discussion around life and, and working on ourselves and evolving who we are and learning from it. I didn’t know about the boring thing. So what do you do with that? Like how do you work with that part? 

 

TIM: 00:06:47  Well, you know, I don’t believe in the word being spiritual, you know? You are spiritual, or you’re not; I get skeptical when someone says I’m spiritual because it’s like, you know, sex, if you have to talk about sex, obviously you’re not getting it. Those that don’t talk about it generally are. So spirituality is a sense of being, how you behave and conduct yourself, how you maintain a demure, I suppose, indifference to chaos, and how you contain yourself. My mother was a fantastic woman in the sense that she was; she was very spiritual but never talked about being spiritual, but whenever I was stressed, or ever, I had a problem in my life, and I was upset about something, you know, she’d always say, think Eastern, you know, and that in itself conjured up Confucius and kind of, a Zen thing that sort of Zen thing. Which is in other words that, you know, and it also gets back to, um, to what, uh, Seneca said, you know, who was the great Roman philosopher, who was Marcus’s advisor, who said that you know, the best way to deal with anger is with delay. 

 

MRS V: 00:08:10  Ah, yes. Perfect. 

 

TIM: 00:08:11  Because by the the time you get round of being angry, if you delay it, you’re not angry at

all. 

 

MRS V: 00:08:17  I love it. And I’d never thought about that point of view because you don’t talk about it in that way. I mean, I’m the same, hopefully; even though I do my work on advertising and what I’m doing in that realm and don’t talk about, I live it in how I do it with my clients. So that makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. So how do you bring that into, we’re going to talk about the artist remedy, um, you know, you have worked with so many, I mean you are born with one, your dad, but how what’s a remedy for them. What would you say to an artist? 

 

TIM: 00:08:54  Well, I think the proper home for an artist is in the studio. Some artists are very good self-promoters who know how to do the dance. You know, like Brett Whiteley is the stock as Brett white is the rock star. My father is the Spanish Matador; they were very good at being able to create this theatrical kind of persona, which, I mean, I’ve met people who didn’t like my father’s work, and then the minute they met him, they go, “oh, it’s fabulous! Because somehow, the artwork is a byproduct of the person. Of course, there are skills, and there are talented abilities. That’s required to be able to make interesting art. But, the person often is the icing on the cake regarding understanding where it all comes from. That cover that reaches back into the depth and substance of the artwork begins with the person in most cases and ends with the person. 

 

MRS V: 00:10:08  It’s like they’re storytellers of their life.

 

TIM: 00:10:10  Yeah. And really, the artwork is a reflection of the, of the, of the inner

narrative. 

 

TIM: 00:10:17  Yeah. 

 

MRS V: 00:10:17  Beautiful. 

 

MRS V: 00:10:18  Yeah. So what, what would you say to an artist? What do you think is their biggest challenge, and what is a remedy for them to help them? 

 

TIM: 00:10:28  Look, really, and truly the best artists I’ve ever known have been avid readers, lovers of poetry, and artists. When my father was a young man, he lived in Majorca, and he arrived there basically with a suitcase. And he started collecting glasses in the local restaurant and plates, working as a busboy and working his way up to being one of the sous-chefs there. And, but he befriended Robert Graves, the famous poet-writer and historian, you know, who rode like Cordius or what have you. And he was a much older man, and he loved my father because he was so charming and was able to sort of, you know, get the Swedish backpackers up to Robert Grave’s house, up on the hill, and you know, there was a lot of, you know, in BCCA Alia of course. 

 

TIM: 00:11:20  Yeah. But Robert Graves was a brilliant man, and he said to my father, “Look, young John, you can paint pretty pictures all your life. Still, unless you embrace poetry and literature and develop a metaphor, you will never grow much further. “You can paint pretty landscapes all your life, but they’ll never have much more. So it changed my father’s life to start being interested in how other people think. The greatest act of humility is to be interested in how other people think, whether through music or poetry or reading or theater, or any form of the arts. Art is a mechanism by which or a vehicle by which we get off ourselves and start realising more about how we feel and think through the thinking and feeling of others. 

 

MRS V: 00:12:18  Oh, I love that. It is. And it is a, a great form of learning empathy, I think, you know, which is so needed today. 

 

MRS V: 00:12:28  I know before you’ve said to me, when we were talking, having a conversation about, you know, artists and you mentioned that one of, one of the issues that is a big one for them is that they find it hard to find success or to be with success. How do you help them through that? 

 

TIM: 00:12:44  It’s like what Oscar wild once said, you know, it’s often worse to be roomed by praise and destroyed by criticism. And I’ve seen so many artists come undone, particularly after winning the arch ball prize. Oh, wow. You know, it’s here, we are in the week of the Archibald Prize and, and we know damn well that, um, you know, it’s sort of like the whole country, whole country stops or the whole art world stops just like the whole country stops for the Melbourne cup. You know, the announcement of the Archibald is like, when everyone takes a deep breath and goes, who’s going to win because it is, you know, I mean, all it’s like the Melbourne cup, every horse eats from the same, from the same bail of hay and essentially it’s a chalk raffle, you know? Yeah. It’s not; artists do not so much judge it. It’s judged by trustees and not necessarily people who are art experts, but it holds portraiture a constant fascination. Still, I’ve seen so many artists come undone after winning the Archibald. 

 

MRS V: 00:13:51  So what is it? Is it almost like the same thing around winning the lotto? I suppose it’s that

thing of people having to learn to understand how to be with success or that
there are enough, or all their stuff comes up. I mean, what do you see? You see
them come up, bring them on, and help them. You’re amazing at that. And I know
you have loyal artists who stick with you because you have led them on that
pathway they’ve managed. Do you coach them when they start to work and are a
bit off-kilter? What do you say?

 

TIM: 00:14:23  How do you politely say put your ego in your back pocket? Leafy ego at the front door. Artists are very, very, very volatile people and fragile people and extremely vulnerable, and to work, to be an artist, is to confront yourself every day. If you’re a true artist and working from a place of truth, you know, it’s very, very confronting, it’s an occupation that requires you to dig deep, and you

don’t always like what you see. It’s a job where it requires incredible introspection. And, even though you might just be looking at a landscape or a still life or a figure or creating some form of abstraction, it’s a kind of personal interrogation, not just what you are doing about creating something that is perceived on a two-dimensional surface in regard to painting or three-dimensional sculpture or even through photography. 

 

TIM: 00:15:38  But I think the longer I’ve been in this business, the more I realize that art is not just about seeing, it’s also about feeling, and often I have to address, um, the emotions of an artist and the feelings that, of an artist more so than their technique or what they’re doing or, you know, whether they’re using the right colors or whatever. I mean, I’m not someone to tell someone what to paint, but, basically, you have to constantly message them and tell them that what they’re doing has meaning has substance, and purpose. And that the way they do things is unique to them. And what it is is, is quite magnificent. I think it’s very courageous to be an artist. It’s very noble to be an artist. I mean, what else have we got when we look through history? When we start with the early artists that, before Christ, the early civilization through Egypt, through Rome, right. What have we got left throughout history that tells us about those people? It’s their artwork. 

 

MRS V: 00:16:50  That is so amazing because I mean, I see you as an artist coach. Like I can feel that because when, as an artist, and you know, I do as an artist, but not this stuff, but in other ways, and I see what comes up is that fear of being criticized. Fear of exposing yourself. And it is, it is a hard journey because you’re always battling and balancing. Do I do that? Is that okay? What will people think? And I don’t want to be like them. I mean, it’s just a head spin . No, completely. And so, yeah, I see because you are seeing everything from behind and above, and it’s an amazing position for you because you can see where they need to go. Is there any other thing that you tell them or that you share to help them into that place? Because it is it’s, you’re coaching them on a whole life being in that space. 

 

TIM: 00:17:44  Yeah. I often say to an artist, “what are you reading now?” But really, the thing to say to them is don’t give up, don’t give up. Yeah. Uh, I mean, every artist has a bad haircut day. You know, it’s a situation where you have to work through it. And we often, in the art world or the in the act of creativity throughout history, talk about the muse, and the muse is the goddess of creativity. Like we there’s got that great painting called the three Muses, by Botticelliit’s really, a thing where if you believe in the spiritual aspect of

creativity, I think artists are channelers, they’re vehicles for some largest sense of spirit or some spirit or past spirits. It could be multiple spirits. 

 

TIM: 00:18:50  I truly believe my father is a channel or conduit for someone like Rubens, perhaps. Because often he paints things and he doesn’t understand where it comes from. And I end up telling him things about what he’s done. And he said, “yeah, that’s exactly right. But I didn’t realise what I was doing.” And it’s like that with many artists, I do believe that there’s something intangible involved with the creative process, but the muse only visits you when you have everything in place. And it comes through a lot of hard work, a lot of repetition, and lots of failures. When an artist tells me that they’ve failed this last painting, they did fail. 

 

TIM: 00:19:41  I said, “Well, that’s fantastic because you know how to fix it.” But I believe that the muse only visits those that are working from a place of selflessness, integrity, passion, and, and, and really from a place of sincerity where they’re not thinking about, who’s going to look at the picture, they’re not thinking about who they can sell it to and how much they can get for it, all those things, or I would in a sense, say bad karma towards the great intangible masterpiece. To tell the artist that, stop thinking and stop being overly conscious about what you’re doing, forget everything you think you know and do it. And they’ve come back to me a month later and said, “Tim, you’re absolutely right. I just decided I didn’t care about money anymore. And I didn’t give a shit about what so-and-so thought, whether it be an art critic or my wife or my husband, and suddenly the magic happened.”

 

MRS V: 00:20:47 It’s very similar to acting because when you do an acting course, I mean, I’m a director, but I’ve done an acting course to find out what it was like. And it is personal development. It’s personal development because you have to, as you say, face yourself every day and be truthful and sit in the presence of that. Well, I think you are; if I were an artist and going to do it, you’d be an amazing person to come and do that with, because your knowledge is so beautiful. Like you have the whole, all sides of it. So, I think anyone who’s been with you and the gallery is blessed. 

 

TIM: 00:21:19  I wish they realised it more. 

 

MRS V: 00:21:22  They will.

 

TIM: 00:21:23  No, I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and very proud of my artists. 

 

MRS V: 00:21:26  Well done. And thank you. 

 

TIM: 00:21:29  My pleasure, my pleasure. And thank you for reminding me of all those things that I’d forgotten about.

 

MRS V: 00:21:34  Yeah. Well, that’s the idea, you know, and what I love about AGERICH is that we have such a rich life of experiences, and we have this beautiful wisdom. I’ve certainly a view of anybody that has shown itself prominently, I think, with your book and watching an Australian story, and, you know, like you’ve had the confidence to show who you are and in that is an artist and, and what you’re doing. So I think you’re a great illustration of …


TIM: 00:22:05  That. I’ll never be afraid of who you are.

 

TIM: 00:22:09  That’s it!

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