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Misery Children: Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters

on July 9, 2008 - 4:10pm

Last summer I was in Montreal at the Yves Laroche/L'Autre Gallery for "Second Hand Smoke and Mirrors", a showing that combined the talents of two artists.

art piece of a child in a conjoined twins devil-octopus costumeLet me introduce you to Kathie Olivas from Tampa Bay Florida. She is an artist, collector and curator of what is referred to (so inappropriately) as 'lowbrow art': the type of funky art you see in magazines, on record or book covers, on many an indie concert poster and in shops that sell Vinyl Designer toys (of which I am a collector). Calling it lowbrow is like saying all contemporary and pop-culture pieces aren't art at all, but just meant for key chains and bumper stickers. For some reason creators of what is, I suppose, commercial art tend to have a self-deprecating sense about them. But I digress.

Olivias (and Peters) creates images of children in costumes - often with multiple masks - that have a certain eerie yet cute feel about them. She pairs them with rabbits or other fuzzy creatures who equally produce a sense of uneasiness, whether they are reaching for the child's lollipop or simply standing in frame. And to my delight, she is involved with the launch of Scavengers Mini Figures Series 1, a collection of vinyl toys recently released that are high on my Christmas list.

You can see more of her work at, but before you leave let me tell you about another artist.

Among the number of people she has worked with, one of my favourites is Brandt Peters (who just happens to be her husband).

dark art piece of a young girl on a swing looking discontent as 3 odd figures stand behind herBrandt Peters describes his work much better than I did earlier in this post:

The Subject of my paintings is a world of side-show icons, deviant Animalia, and ‘masked’ glorified cartoon alter egos. I utilize these icons and character cultures as antithetical counterparts to what we are lead to believe as being innocent and socially acceptable. Although misfits on the surface, a sense of relation is understood, secret from the public - we are all misfits; hiding behind animated personas, odd and beautifully unusual."

I highly recommend you take some time to view their work. If you're lucky enough to have them showing at a local art gallery, it's definitely worth a visit.

As for me, I didn't have enough money to purchase an original piece of art from their exhibit, but I did buy two limited prints which proudly hang in my dining room.

art piece of a child in a bear costume, rabbits, and a little boy with a bear mask on his head

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