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DENVER – With classic rock pounding, Brian Olsen stands before a wall-size canvas clutching up to six brushes at once, wielding them like a rock ‘n’ roll drummer. As furiously wrought images of icons like Mick Jagger and Marilyn Monroe emerge, Olsen swivels and jumps, attacking the portrait with fistfuls of paint. The crowd goes wild.
Welcome to Brian Olsen’s Art in Action.
Olsen is like no other painter today. Contrary to the stereotype of the solitary artist holed up in a studio, Olsen makes art a shared experience. During an “Art in Action” performance, Olsen seeks an exchange of creative energy between painter and audience. And he never fails.
“The reason I take art out of the studio and put it on stage is to get people to step back and capture a moment in time,” says the Colorado based artist. “What I try to do is ignite a spark in the audience, to give them a moment of creativity in its purest form.”
The subjects of Olsen’s portraits include famous musicians, movie stars, sports heroes and legendary leaders, painted on stage in a matter of minutes. His creations are choreographed, set to music, and executed with brash showmanship. Through the experience of color, music and movement, Olsen brings audiences closer to a shared world of art and imagination.
Olsen has taken “Art in Action” to art festivals, as well as charity and corporate events across North America and beyond, from Spain to China to the Middle East and Australia. His appeal spans cultural boundaries because, as he says, “There are no special effects. It’s just paint on canvas. I have a diverse repertoire of over 50 subjects that relate to any audience.”
Olsen began his career in 1998 as an assistant to the late Denny Dent, the renowned painter who pioneered the form. For six years, he studied under Dent as a tour and studio manager, during which time Olsen perfected the techniques of performance painting. “This is painting with both hands at the same time” Olsen says. “I had to learn how to develop my left hand. Before I picked up the brushes, Denny had me do exercises. I would put my right hand in my pocket and go through the day and only use my left hand.”
Olsen says his art is merely a set up for his big takeaway: that everyone possesses the same creative spark he draws on with every performance.
“The magic happens on stage,” he says. “It’s just me, and it’s just one shot. There’s a lot of energy and a lot of bounce-back between the audience and me. But in the end it’s all about art in action!”
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Media Contacts:
Brian Olsen Art In Action:, 720.570.2303
Lobeline Communications 310 -271-1551,,