Olive Goil: Alexandra Valenti

These days everyone is a photographer, right? Instagramming, blogging, and smart phone documenting our lives, with an array of apps and filters at our disposal and in the palm of our hand.

But my dears, let us not forget that photography is an art. There are vibrant, imaginative folks who devote all of their time and talents to creating enduring, moving, poignant imagery for the rest of us to enjoy.

So let’s tip our hats and give a sweet curtsey to those who do their thing and do it well. Respect, my dears, it is all about respect.

That is why today’s Olive Goil is the absolutely stunningly talented Alexandra Valenti, an East Coast gal who moved to Austin, Texas, picked up a camera and some paints… and let her mind open wide.

Her photography, blasted, blown-out and beautiful, captures a place and time that seems to exist in a dream – gorgeous landscapes, striking models, vintage clothes…it’s a world I’d love to step right into… and never leave.

Miss Valenti does high fashion shoots with the eye of a country girl, bringing all that high falootin’ fashion swagger – straight back down to earth. Clothes and jewelry seem all the more wearable and more lovely in her photographs, shot in what you can imagine must be an atmosphere of adventure and fun.

And when Miss Alexandra adds her paints to the prints, something thrilling and magical happens. Her bright patterns and illustrated embellishments serve to transform a mere photo of a woman in a dress – to the level of fine and lovely art.

Respect my dears. Respect to Miss Valenti and to all the other photographers, musicians, writers and artists, etc etc… who remind us of the importance of authenticity and true talent… in this crazy, mixed up digital world.

Live Olive: Interview with Alia Penner

Okay dear, dear, dearest readers – this is a very special day today because one of my most favorite of contemporary artists has agreed to do an interview for moí!

Miss Alia Penner is master of color and collage and bright stripes and geometrically inspired heaven-sent artwork that never ceases to amaze me!

Alia Penner's Photography

She grew up in the pretty hills and woods of Topanga Canyon and lives in Los Angeles. Alia travels the world painting murals, doing absolutely incredible window displays, taking photos of cute ladies and creating vivid fabrics… basically doing just about anything crafty and magic that you can imagine.

Miss Penner is one talented gal – read below and fall in love!

What inspired you artistically as a child?

Cartoons. I wanted to be a cartoonist when I was in elementary school. Maybe because I thought it was the only reasonable thing to do if you could draw. There’s a video of me when I was a kid just totally hypnotized by this one Silly Symphony cartoon about chickens, my dad’s like “Aliaaaa, Aliaaaa” I never look over. We were totally obsessed with all things Disney growing up. For family vacations & birthdays going to happiest place on earth was the only destination.

I also rode horses competitively with my sister, English & three day eventing. In our room we had every color ribbon you could win lining our ceiling. Blue, Red, Yellow, Pink, Green, White, Brown… getting 8th place is a bummer enough but getting a brown ribbon? Yuck.

In your collage work – what draws you to a particular image?

It’s a quality of paper, printing, and color, wanting to transport that image into my world. The images usually go through stages, sometimes I’ll have stacks of magazines & books I look through tear some out put them in folders. If they go to the next stage they get cut out with an X-acto and either used or but in a box for later. I recently collaged an image of a bull and a ballerina that I had cut out 3 years earlier for an Occupy poster, they were the destined to be together.

I just like re imagining existing images or things that fit into some other Alia realm. Recently I have been more interested in leaving the page and hitting the pavement, working on a larger scale. When I look at the buildings, freeways & cars of Los Angeles I dream of city filled with much, much more color.

Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists (in any and all fields!)?

I love all the insane rainbow fashion visions that are happening right now. Jeremy Scott, Meadham Kirchoff, Romance Was Born, Mary Katrantzou to name a few. It’s all sooooo beautiful to look at but what they all have in common is a humorous approach to the empire of fashion. Very important. I’ve been taking getting dressed more seriously (or less seriously) lately. I want to be a reflection of my art “hair done, nails done everything did” to quote a contemporary hip hop song. Collaborating with designers to make living breathing works of art, from your head down to your shoes? Yes Please!

Alia Penner's Design