On Our Radar: Olivia Locher

IN COLOR AND COMEDY, A RISING NEW YORK ARTIST FINDS HER FOOTING.

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Clockwise from L to R: “How to Wear Heels” from Locher’s “How To” series; Portrait of the artist; “In New Hampshire, it’s illegal to tap your foot or nod your head to keep time to music” from the artist’s “I Fought The Law” series.

If you’re a novice artist, being name-dropped by any New York art curator is in and of itself a feat. When said curator happens to be art-and-design-firm founder, Andi Potamkin— this city’s quintessential gold standard for discovering new talent— you’re pretty much destined to be great. Singled out as “one to watch” in the contemporary art space by Potamkin earlier this week, Olivia Locher is a NY-based photographer whose style is heavy on color, concept and quirk— think a portrait of a woman’s head inside a shoe box (or her “How to Think Inside the Box”). At just 25 years-old, the visual arts-trained artist hasn’t just caught the eyes of Potamkin either— her playful, yet enlightened voice has garnered her clients as major as W Magazine (her Fashion Week images for the pub make “behind-the-scenes” feel more performance art than hackneyed prep). As for personal projects, that’s where Locher’s comedic effect shines. Take her I Fought the Law series, a pop art-style portrait collection of subjects breaking ludicrous (and real) state laws— there’s a woman with a melting rainbow sprinkled ice cream cone in her back pocket (illegal “at all times” in Alabama), a child with a David Bowie-like hairdo (defying Texas’ law for children to have “unusual” haircuts) and a woman taking a spoonful of soup (the state of New Jersey can arrest anyone for slurping soup in public). And, then there’s Locher’s How To series, widely celebrated for its nonsense common sense illustration of how to’s: a female chest with painted-on cleavage (“How to Be Sexy”), a male wearing a light bulb helmet plugged into a wall socket (“How to Get an Idea”) and a leg with a stack of books taped below its foot (“How to Be Taller”). It’s an undeniable creative humor for which her use of saturated color and penchant for the impromptu make ingenious complements. Here, we sit down with the artist to find out more about her work, plus get a glimpse of her own New York life.

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Clockwise from L to R: “In California, nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool;” “In Alabama, it is illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at all times;” “In Utah, no one may walk down the street carrying a paper bag containing a violin;” “In Maine, it’s unlawful to tickle a woman under the chin with a feather duster.”

MY ART IS: Sarcastic, Colorful, Quirky.

GREATEST INSPIRATION: I find filmmakers to be the most inspiring: especially Matthew Barney, Chantal Akerman and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Andy Warhol’s collection is also very important for me.

PINCH-ME MOMENT: Being a part of the group show, Pheromone Hotbox at Steven Kasher Gallery. It was such an honor to show work with four incredible female photographers.

WHAT’S NEXT: Right now, I am working on my first art book; it is a monograph of my series, I Fought the Law. I am also excited to work on a show that will follow the publication.

Clockwise from L to R: "How to Think Inside the Box;" "How to Use Chopsticks;" "How to Have a Cup of Tea;" "How to Apply Lipstick."

Clockwise from L to R: “How to Think Inside the Box;” “How to Use Chopsticks;” “How to Have a Cup of Tea;” “How to Apply Lipstick.”

Locher’s New York

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Veselka (MAP IT).

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Peacefood Cafe on E. 11th Street (MAP IT) for really amazing vegan food. My favorite sandwich they serve is their seitan medallion (seitan, cashew cheese, arugula, tomatoes and pesto on focaccia). I eat here at least once a week; it feels like a second home.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: My favorite [drink] in the city is the Top of the Standard (MAP IT)’s “Champagne Cocktail” (champagne, angostura bitters and rose water). The views are beautiful and it is nice to visit before the nightlife crowds arrive.

GALLERY GO-TO: My apartment is in walking distance of MoMA (MAP IT) so I find myself getting lost in the collection very frequently. I also visit galleries in Chelsea all the time to see new shows.

ART SUPPLIES: The Set Shop in Flatiron (MAP IT).

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: I am always mesmerized whenever I meet my artistic or musical icons in very casual situations. I’ve found myself getting to know some of my childhood heroes by complete chance. That’s one of the many magical things about NYC. CP

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