Art is an agent of change in popular areas
The creation of murals with bottle caps has not been limited to central and busy areas of Venezuela. At the end of 2022, Oscar Olivares created one of his works in Cota 905, a Caracas neighborhood that has become very known in recent years due to clashes between criminal gangs and constant acts of violence.
The Venezuelan artist says that working in Cota 905 was special because the area was known for art, for being an example of recycling and not for negative issues.
“We were able to see how the street children participated in the work and felt part of the place. What we wanted to do with this work was not only to transform the space but to give a different kind of reference to all these young people who have experienced so much violence for so long. For me, it is very important to be able to transform spaces that need it so much,” he says.
For Olivares, this type of event demonstrates that art is an agent of change in low-income areas.
“Art does not change a person, but it is capable of changing a whole society because it touches our emotions and also influences the collective unconscious. This is something very important when we talk about creating changes – and I feel that we will continue to create important changes through art – at least in terms of recycling, thousands of people are probably recycling for the first time and that is thanks to these murals,” he points out.
Art, his “life”
Like many artists, Oscar Olivares’ work is the result of years of effort and preparation. The Venezuelan artist says that when he was 6 years old, he only drew. At the age of 14, he began drawing scenes from Venezuelan soccer and posted his work on Twitter. The reception was great.
“When I saw that through my art I could not only express my feelings but also touch other people’s feelings, I understood the great responsibility and power I had with this artistic talent and decided to develop it. At that point, while I was still in school, my education began to be self-taught. I started to buy books and look for videos on the Internet. I practiced a lot to refine my technique,” he said.
Years later, Olivares studied for a semester at the University of the Arts in Caracas, but he dropped out because he felt the teaching process was too slow for what he wanted to achieve.
“Sometimes I argued with the professors, I felt that the methods were not the most appropriate, that we could demand more of ourselves. Sometimes, in half an hour on my own, I would end up researching something that the professor had not explained to us in a whole semester and I would end up explaining it to my classmates and that led me to abandon the career and continue studying, preparing myself on my own.”
So he decided to invest in courses and books, but also in carefully observing his surroundings to hone his talent.
“Much of the evolution of an artist is not only due to books and courses but also to the experiences he lives and paying attention to the world around me because often innovation is in things we see every day but don’t pay attention to.“
Oscar Olivares: Venezuelan Artist Revalidates Knowledge and Creates 6 Murals in 2021
In 2021, the Venezuelan artist was able to revalidate all this knowledge and obtained a degree in Art Education at the Universidad Simón Rodríguez.
His experience and knowledge have allowed him to continue expanding his work. Thus, although he was initially recognized for his illustrations, the cover murals have added to his reputation. But he does not want to stop there. For Olivares, the key is to keep innovating, both for himself and for the public.
“I plan to take a two-month break in mid-2023 to travel to Europe to explore other types of materials and techniques and not just limit myself to bottle cap projects. Maybe by 2024 or 2025, I’ll be doing murals with something else, maybe I’ll be doing something other than a mural,” he says.
For now, Olivares is working on two murals with bottle caps. One in Santa Barbara, Zulia state and another that will begin in February on Margarita Island, Nueva Esparta state. He also states that he is in talks to create four more murals, so for now, at least 6 murals will be inaugurated in Venezuela this year.
With his continuous work, Oscar Olivares shows the passion he feels for art and also for life. When asked who he is, beyond his works, his answer is categorical and reflects the essence of who he is: “Art is my life, it is not something I can separate from the person I am, because they are things that go hand in hand.