Claudia Olivos originates from Chile (b. USA)
Claudia holds an MFA from Vermont College, a BA in Psychology, and a BFA in painting from George Mason University.
The founder, and one time owner of a gallery in Washington D.C., Olivos currently exhibits widely nationally and internationally. She has been included in the 2003-06 Editions of Marquis’s Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who of American Artist (2006-07).
Her paintings have been featured in several publications including on the cover of Coming Home by J. Pizarro, and on the cover of the CD, Octaves Beyond Silence featuring Eve Ensler and Indigo Girls, a CD made to benefit women survivors of violence in Rwanda, Bosnia & Afghanistan, and a book of Latino Poetry (2007).
Olivos has been involved in the local art community with various projects varying from working with youth at risk to teaching at the Smithsonian Institution Resident Associates Program, leading workshops in the community, to painting backdrops for scenery for Teatro de La Luna. Claudia Olivos currently teaches at The Art League School in Alexandria, and is faculty at the Art Institute of Washington. She regularly donates the use of her work for causes she believes in such as Alianza Latina in New York , and NHLI
Claudia Olivos resides in Arlington, Virginia with her son Julian and her partner/husband, painter Sergio Olivos . She is a full time artist, working with drawing, painting and collage/assemblage.
Born in Washington D.C. to Chilean parents, Claudia Olivos was raised in Chile where she attended a private Catholic school, and was witness to the political upheaval of the Allende-Pinochet years. Her family returned to the USA when she was 13 years old. In doing her MFA studies, Claudia concentrated on the art of the Surrealists and on the literary genre of Magic Realism. She formulated a thesis to show that Magic Realism, like Surrealism, is a postmodern genre founded in literature and leading to the visual, and that is serves as a language to convey feelings of repression and oppression in a manner which is obvious yet sublime.
Olivos has also used her studies to investigate the role of the artist within her/his community, and how the arts make a difference by allowing the artist to form a dialogue with the community regarding socio/political issues.
It is her belief that to be a successful artist, we can’t live, breathe and think only art. Art is found in the life that surrounds us…visit not only the art museum-but also the Planetarium…the zoo, a play. Read, travel…fresh experiences, diversity in that which touches our soul will lead not only to great ideas for creating art, but help us grow
Claudia Olivos has worked professionally as a social worker, counselor for individuals with mental health issues, artist in residence, officer on a cruise ship, daycare worker, bartender, community artist, gallery founder and director, special events coordinator and is a mother. All of which have supported and influenced her constant evolution as an artist.
Mali: What visions did you have for life when you were a child?
Claudia: When I was a child, I remember more than anything, wanting to be a mama and an artist. I never doubted that I could do both… and I remember making a promise to myself when I was about 5 or 6 years old: “I will never, ever forget what it is like to be a child.” I can’t remember what was going on in my life at the time- why I promised this to myself, but I have never forgotten that–within that promise I felt the importance to cherish every moment as a child does, as well as cherish children as the earnestly thoughtful people they are.
Mali: What is your personal philosophy on life now?
Claudia: My personal philosophy is to follow your heart/your bliss, your passion. It is not easy to do this in the face of society’s views on “what we are supposed to do”, insurance needs, bills, etc etc; but I deeply believe that our heart is a compass to life itself and it is important to be in touch with our inner selves or we too easily accept mediocrity and fate as the status quo.
It takes practice at *listening* to the language of the heart… but when we do, and we follow *our bliss* I have always found that it is like stepping stones in a river…. we may not see them until we are right above it… then we take the next step, then the next one…and each one is exciting, surprising and leading us towards ourselves… because life is not about a “goal”, it really is about living each day to the fullest, with intention and with our whole heart.
Mali: What career path have you chosen or what services or products do you offer to your clients or consumers?
Claudia: My career path has involved studying both psychology and art-and it has been interesting to see how these two have in time converged via the stepping stone analogy I presented above… as such, it has led me into not only creating my own art, but also into teaching and helping others heal from emotional wounds.
Mali: What motivates you to get up every day and do your work in the world?
Claudia: What motivates me has varied over the years- but I think the basis is always the same: to overcome challenges, to grow as a person, and to help others to do the same.
It may stem from the fact that my family of origin abused me my whole life, and only realized it as an adult; it could have something to do with horrible life experiences that affected me and I had to either push through and resolve or curl up into a ball and disappear.
Throughout the years, I have clearly experienced the effects that toxic people have on a person, as well as the immense gift it is when someone chooses to help, to say a kind word… it can be profound and life changing. I have been privy to be on both the receiver and giver side of this- the term “wounded healer” is one that I am familiar with and as such, it is a joy to know that my art is healing (imagine that! just looking at my paintings bring peace and healing to others! that in and of itself is enough to get me out of bed and into the studio daily!)
The honor of playing a role in advancing of a person’s life in the directions of their own healing and *bliss* –either via my own art work, or via healing workshops motivates me, to know that I am making a difference in someone’s life- that is enormous, humbling and rewarding at the same time!
I have always held a burning desire to leave something grand in this world when it is my time to go.
Mali: How do you find your peace and happy place to continue SOARing when faced with challenges?
Claudia: I find my peace and happy place to continue SOARing when faced with challenges in the support of my friends and community, in knowing that I am not alone- I am not the only “broken” and challenged one… I remind myself that my vision and my purpose in life is not one of collapse in the face of rejection, fear, and other challenges- my vision in life is indeed a reminder that we CAN SOAR despite our circumstances and wherever we are. We are each unique individuals that have *something* to give to this world, and unless we are being true to ourselves, to our *bliss* our calling, we are not living as we should. I think many people forget this (I too have at times!)- we compare ourselves to others (more talent, more money, more loving family…)– and we forget that our circumstances are as they are for a reason and that there is a much greater path ahead for us.
Mali: What are some words of wisdom you would like to share with our S.O.A.R. community?
Claudia: I believe many of us live in fear because of stories we have been told via society/family/life circumstances etc… that lead us to question our own worth, this results in a lack self-awareness and a misunderstanding of what it means to really *own* ourselves-we put on the breaks, lower our wings and can never SOAR because we feel so fall and inadequate. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to “All that Is” and to the world we are living in to be introspective, be open to growth… to gaze at ourselves in the mirror and shed the toxic inner critic, become self aware and empowered. Only then, when we shed everything that gets piled up on us simply from living in an imperfect world… when we shed the things that never, ever were a part of us anyway… then, we can lift our wings and SOAR.