Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel O’Donnell.
Rachel, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Born in Dallas, Texas, I was not exactly set up to become a fancy beret-wearing artiste. Luckily, the desire to create was unstoppable for me and resulted in many messy disasters and broken Barbie dolls. I was obsessed with Technicolor classics from old Hollywood and desperately wanted to be glamorous and self-possessed like my favorite femme-fatales. I originally thought dance would be my path into art-making and attended the local arts magnet to focus on dance.
At 18, I moved to Brooklyn, New York to attend Pratt Institute to study painting. It was a crash-course in a world I had never known, but I came out still wanting to create, and I started showing and selling my work professionally.
In 2015, I moved to Los Angeles. My best friend, and fellow artist who I moved here with, Kristen Liu-Wong, said that LA is my brain actualized as a real space. It’s glamorous and dreamy with a seedy and nightmarish quality lurking just behind the neon lights. Moving here has signaled a large shift in my work and made me far more prolific in my art making.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
A friend once told me, “They paint ideas, but YOU, you paint feelings.” Always a maximalist, my artwork seeks to deconstruct common imagery, as seen through the lens of pop culture, advertisements and cultural archetypes. I want to breathe life into the static and create a nuanced view of a subject. I want people to have an emotional response to my work and to identify with something they never would have thought twice about.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
Being an artist is difficult; it’s always going to be a balancing act no matter where you are in your career. You have to believe in yourself and be self-critical. It’s a lot of contradictions. Someone once told me, “you have to have the heart of a poet and the toughness of a boxer.” Success for me is being able to make work, show it (even if just online) and to have supportive relationships in my life. All the rest is gravy!
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can see my work anytime on my website or Instagram! If you live in the LA area, I have a permanently installed 4ft collage in front of the Alter Los Angeles store on Sunset Blvd. I also have over sixteen portraits and eleven other massive pieces installed at the new Facet Records studio launched by songwriter extraordinaire, Justin Tranter and Warner Brother Records. They open their doors this June! Additionally, I will have work featured at NOGO arts in Brooklyn, NY this June and at ArtShareLA later this fall. For those looking for smaller pieces, I have an affordable and beautiful print currently available online with Vonzos!
- Website: http://www.rachelodonnellart.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelodonnell/
Image of me in the mask in a fur in Griffith park – Alexa Nikol