21 Under 31 | Mikael Olson


Born: Denver, CO, 1973.

First artwork: “I remember my brother interrupting me from my own scribbling to make a stick figure when I was about 4.”

Art education: Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and the Art Students League of Denver.

Style of work: “At this moment it’s impressionistic toward slightly expressionistic.”

Favorite subject to paint: The figure. But “I want to get to a level where it doesn’t matter what the subject is.” Favorite artists: “Andrew Wyeth, Fechin, Diebenkorn, de Kooning … the list is always growing.” Second-choice career: Movie director.

Other passions: More painting.

Fantasy art trip: “I’d have free rein to go anywhere I wanted—to have permission to go into people’s houses at random like Wyeth. He always got into people’s houses to paint.”

Favorite studio music: Everything from the Beastie Boys to Willie Nelson.

Best advice received: Keep on painting.

Pet peeve: Playing it safe.

Next big goal: “To be less literal about things, to simplify everything and see more of the big picture.” Price range: $350 and up. Galleries: Abend Gallery, Denver, CO, and Joe Wade Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM.

Featured in “21 Under 31” in September 2002