September 18, 2008
Robert Olsen’s photo realist paintings of gas stations and city objects have gained notice among art critics and collectors alike, and we spent some time with him in his Sunset Boulevard neighbourhood. Olsen uses a photo, print and paint process to achieve accurate representations of the subjects he chooses and further personalizes the pieces by reducing the image to its most essential image; often centering the objects against a background of gradated black. Not much for the traffic of the L.A roadways, he often prefers going out in the middle of the night to photograph his gas stations and other objects, capturing a quieter side of a city perpetually on the move.
Robert took us to Tacos Delta, a taqueria close to his apartment/studio near Silverlake Hills on Sunset Blvd. The taqueria is well known among locals-it is a place Robert frequented even before moving to the neighbourhood. It was busy when we were there and its clean and there’s a nice little table area in the back where you can sit and enjoy your inexpensive and authentic Mexican. We had a good discussion about art in general and more specifically about the nature of photo realist painting and some of the difficulties of painting in this style.
There was also a few coffee shops that Robert pointed out to us. In particular, the Casbah, a morrocan themed cafe with quality espresso.