Olav Nielsen | BIO < back to artists

Born 1978 in Silkeborg, Denmark (but now a NZ Citizen), Nielsen graduated from the Otago Polytechnic School of Art, majoring in printmaking.

Olav, whilst working on a series of different images, has said that it was a process of coming to know and balancing different aspects of himself: "the intertwining of personal history with the present, wants for the future and the daily sensation of living as a physical being."

The Structures, rooms and passageways are combinations of his past and present places of dwelling, combined with spaces only visited in his dreams.

"All these places I have lived still exist in me and contain the life that I lived there. Frequently in dreams I will find myself in buildings that seamlessly contain rooms from my childhood home in Denmark, and in my current flat in Dunedin. The Fish and the dogs are organic and animal presences in our lives, including the emotions and energies inherent in our bodies, the animals we eat and the pets we share our lives with. The soft darkness is the creative space from which the light springs and illuminates the hallways, rooms and passageways from any direction possible."

Comment on techniques
Each image I make take on average two to five weeks to produce. I employ two techniques; Mezzotint and burnished Aquatint both of which are based on the same principle.

I begin which a metal plate on which I create a uniform texture which is what holds the printing ink in place, I then work into this texture manually using a steel scraper to ‘draw’ my image. The difference between the two techniques is in how the initial texture is made.

A Burnished Aquatint is a branch of acid etching and the texture is created using nitric acid to ‘bite’ into a Zinc metal plate. A Mezzotint is usually done on copper or brass and the texture is created manually using a tool akin to a large curved chisel with a row of teeth across its edge. This tool is rocked back and forth across the plate until the texture is uniform and is ready for the image to be drawn.

Once I have finished drawing the image on the plate the printing ink is applied carefully by hand to the plate and the image is pressed onto high quality fine art paper. My images are printed in several layers to create defined colours and shadows and the plate is reworked between each layer to accommodate the different areas of colour.

Original plates
Once the limited edition print has been completed the printing plate itself is made available as the unique original of the edition. The plate is engraved with the title, date and signature of the artist and a hole is drilled in the lower right hand corner to signify that the edition is complete. The plates are then lacquered to prevent tarnishing of the metal.

Significant events of 2010

November. 1st place in the Yealands Estate ‘Art on a Bottle’ competition with the wining work being reproduced on the Yealands wine label.

October. Featured in the Denis Robinson book ‘The New Zealand Gallery'.

October. Featured in NZ Life and Leisure magazine

September. Selected for the Prestigious 2010 Pacific Rim International Printmaking exhibition held in Christchurch. The exhibition featured artists from countries around the pacific rim including Russia, USA, China, Japan and many more.

August. 3rd place, Edinburgh Realty Art Awards, Dunedin

July. 3rd place, Invercargill Licensing Trust Art Awards, Invercargill.

April. Premier Applied Art Award. Arrowtown Autumn Festival.