Olivia Steele’s Neon Word Juxtapositions
Neon typography art has been a popular creative medium in 2012. From Lee Jung’s eerie LED light messages to the London poetry vandal Robert Montgomery, messages are louder and more beautiful in glowing colors. Olivia Steele, a Nashville-born artist who now splits her time between Berlin and London, adds a contradictory twist to neon art. Contrasting cliche messages with apocalyptic and religious imagery, Steele’s art leaves us with something that is both beautiful and puzzling.
She seeks to “question modern culture” through this traditional medium of neon glass. Cheeky statements like “That’s All Folks!” adorn a photograph of an atomic explosion. It’s loud and in your face. Boom! But after the shocking after-effects clear, we are left with a commentary on the world today — the contradictory world that nearly seven-billion people call home. The highs and lows of existence are encapsulated in each work, leaving the viewer scrambling to fill in the vague in-between and make sense of it all.
“She relishes the idea of contrast and contradiction, and toys with our innate preconceptions,” the artist’s website explains. “The juxtaposition of the neon statement and the environment it is placed in challenges conventional semiotics and evokes a wide range of interpretation.”
Not only are Steele’s creations beautiful, they have a large spectrum of meaning and render the modern plight of living. A dialogue is created between artist and viewer through words and images. More than an artist, Steele is a storyteller, and we are left to interpret our own world views in relation to her work.
“Good, bad, right, or wrong, it’s all relative,” says the artist. “Art is notoriously ambiguous. The art of challenging conventional semiotics and observing the vast spectrum of strangers’ reactions and interpretations is highly rewarding.”
Viewing her work is equally rewarding, and as the young artist climbs the ladder into higher rungs of the art world, we will be left with her inspiring words. For more information about the artist, visit OliviaSteele.com.