Charmaine Olivia is a San Francisco based artist I quickly became obsessed with after following her on Instagram. Her artwork is breathtaking and like nothing I’ve ever seen, and I was immediately drawn to it. Paintings of beautiful women fused with otherworldly aspects ensure that each painting is truly unique and memorable, instead of just another painting of a beautiful woman. I received my first Charmaine Olivia painting as a Christmas gift and I’m excited for my collection to grow! I wanted to know more about Charmaine, and she was kind enough to take some time for a little interview for LA Inspiration readers. Enjoy!

LA Inspiration: Tell me about yourself. 

Charmaine Olivia: I grew up in a small beachy town in Southern California and started painting when I was around 6/7 with my aunt. She taught me how to use oil paints. I mostly just wanted to paint mermaids all the time (which I did). I didn’t paint a whole lot growing up, but I was always doodling on the margins of my notes in school. I started taking art seriously my last year of high school (I skipped the whole college thing). I took a brief hiatus from art and was a yoga instructor for a few years, but then I fell back in love with painting and moved to San Francisco and gave it a shot.

LAI: What is your process when beginning a new piece? 

CO: I’ll usually have some sort of image in my mind, whether it’s vague or vivid, and go from there. When I start a painting I generally have a sense of what it will look like, but I always leave room for the inevitable mistakes that will form and shape the piece.

LAI: I’ve noticed most of your pieces are beautiful women that have an almost creepy aspect to them (exposed ribs, skulls, extra eyes, etc.) Why is that? What inspires you during your creating process?

CO: Honestly, I just get really disenchanted in my work if it’s too “pretty” or too “normal”. What fascinates me are things that are beautiful, but strange. It’s mostly just to keep me interested. I just love playing with the perception of what makes things “beautiful” and exploring the limits.

LAIWhat is your medium of choice?

CO: For my paintings, oils. But I do a decent amount of ink drawings as well.

LAIAside from being an incredible artist, you also have an amazing sense of fashion. What role does fashion play in your life?

CO: Aw thank you! I just love dressing up. What girl doesn’t?  I’m just taking full advantage of the fact that I don’t really have any sort of dress-code, as I’m self employed. I can dress however I want. Any chance to play make-believe and I’m all in.

LAIWhere are your favorite places to shop/favorite designers?

CO: I do a lot of my shopping online. I love ASOS, Nasty Gal, Urban Outfitters, then there’s always H&M and Forever21. It’s all how you mix it. As for jewelry, I’m slightly obsessed with Blood Milk and Pamela Love.

LAIWhat do you do in your down time?

CO: Netflix :p

LAIWhere can people buy your artwork? Do you have any exhibits coming up?

CO: I have an online shop ( where you can buy prints and some originals, I’ll be releasing a lot of different products this year which I’m super excited about. As for exhibits, my solo show at Shooting Gallery just ended, but I think there are a few pieces left for sale. I also have two pieces in an exhibit on Saturday February 11th at Rothick Art Haus.

LAI: Anything else you’d like to share?

CO: Hi mom!

Want to know more about the lovely Charmaine Olivia? You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Thank you again, Charmaine!

Images via

Comments 4

  1. Nicholas wrote:

    Great images and nice job on the interview! I’d like to see more interviews on the site.

    Posted 13 Feb 2012 at 4:30 pm
  2. LB wrote:

    Yes!! I too, became slightly obsessed :) with the beautiful Charmaine after finding her on Instagram. If I ever get the $$ and get my ass to CA I’m going to beg her to paint me!! haha. She’s amazing and to be so young, I can’t wait to see the great things to come. Awesome job on the interview girlie. Love the blog.


    Posted 13 Feb 2012 at 6:54 pm
  3. Erin O'Brien wrote:

    WOW, now this is art! Charmaine Olivia rules. I’m stunned by her work… it’s strangely gorgeous.

    And I agree with Nicholas, I vote for more interviews. :) This one was great and inspiring. Makes me want to get working on something…

    Posted 14 Feb 2012 at 5:11 pm
  4. Athena Kargeui wrote:

    You rule!!!!!!!! ~~<(^-^<)

    Posted 14 Mar 2012 at 11:04 am

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