A Conversation with Olivia De Berardinis

September 17, 2014

It's no secret that perhaps the most intriguing and appealing of all visible, physical elements is that of the female form. That which simply occurs naturally can often be found as the most desired, seductive and inspiring being. With this adoration comes the inclination to reproduce this beauty, to further examine this desire, and to recreate its essence as something to hold and to own. The immense talents of Olivia De Berardinis, as a painter of the female form, have achieved this desire with intensive precision. This is elegantly accomplished through creating realistic sensual beauty and the classic sensuality of a woman. Olivia has been a master in her field, working with the most sought-after temptress of our time, and she does it well. Reproducing everything from skin to lace, sheer chiffon's, semi-transparent lingerie and translucent gowns and stockings, Olivia's pin-ups have effortlessly made their mark in the minds of many. - Lust After

Lust-After: Olivia- you've had such an extensive career thus far as a pin-up artist, I'm not sure where to begin, so I guess let’s begin with the present day. What have you been working on most recently? 

Olivia De Berardinis: I'm feeling my way through it, and projects shape the path, such as doing burlesque paintings of Dita and her burlesque troop which has a rich collection of performers -- from Dirty Martini, Selene Luna, Perle Noire, Romeo, to Prince Poppycock. I'll always be doing a form of pinup, burlesque, painting women of all sorts and of all sexual persuasions. I'm also picking up where I left off a few years ago and going back to full paintings of femme fatales, fantasy women and scary characters such as the "Banshee".

I'm starting on a femme fatale show at presently for a show at the Century Guild gallery in Culver City, L.A. within the next year. It's a small, beautiful gallery and I get a vicarious thrill being shown with Klimt, Mucha and other masters of the female form.

I'm amazed that at this age and into my 4th decade of work, I still have no clear plan of what I want to do. I have so many big ideas and that scatters me, overwhelms me. I have to remember that when I started I just had to sit down and work because the dreaming can go on forever. The work leads you somewhere.

LA: When I was at your home studio a few months back, I remember seeing you designing and costuming a new Dita Von Teese doll, in the most gorgeous miniature burlesque outfit I've ever seen, complete with rhinestone tassels and ever. How is that coming? I know it’s not your first doll with her, correct?

ODB: About ten years ago, I overworked my arm and hand to such a point that tendonitis made my hand limp and painful. Being able to work is the center of my life, my religion … I thought it was over. So, having no strength to learn how to mold clay, I tried working with several really wonderful sculptors. I never got the feeling that the work was mine. At Comic Con a few years ago, Martin Meunier, came to me and said that he could help me learn to realize a doll through 3D printing. The idea that I could sculpt without further damaging my hand was appealing, and the first prototype was sculpted on the computer using my left hand.

The doll you were looking at was of Dita Von Teese, sculpted in Mudbox by me, printed and assembled with some great solutions by Martin for connecting the arms to the torso. Production was done by Martin Meunier, and the costume, which was painstakingly made so it strips off, was done by the costume maker for Coraline, Lauren Vogt. We have the completed doll, but haven't figured out her future.

Read the rest of the article at Lust-After for Juxtapoz Magazine.