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Mark Oliver, Yard Art Installations

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  • Location:

    Berkeley, California, USA (Map)

  • Status:

    Extant

  • Artist:
  • Built:

    begun 2005

Visiting Information

Located on Colusa Avenue between Monterey and Sonoma Avenues

About the Artist/Site

Olivier is a self-taught artist who started exhibiting his sculptures in the front yard of his Berkeley home in 2005 after years of combing East Bay beaches for materials. Located on Colusa Avenue between Monterey and Sonoma Avenues, Olivier’s yard is a wonderland of transformed debris that had drifted in from the Pacific Ocean and the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. A carpenter during the week, Olivier is a found-object sculpture maverick on the weekends, as he takes his pet poodle out for walks from Point Molate to the Bay Bridge to scour the beaches for new finds. Olivier’s materials are entirely culled from the beach; his only purchases are the glues, nails, and other fixtures that hold the objects together. More than simply his walking companion, Olivier’s poodle is also the inspiration for one of his most memorable sculptures, a giant poodle made from the neon blue rope used by crab fishermen: Olivier devised a method of unraveling the rope and fraying the threads in a way that created a texture reminiscent of the poodle’s fluffy hair. Other materials include fishing equipment, industrial refuse, animal bones, and anything else of interest. 

Although Olivier does not make an overt political statement with his found art, his concern regarding the amount of trash he was finding on local beaches was the genesis for his sculpting endeavors. After collecting the debris, rather than just throwing it away he decided to organize it into categories to save for potential projects. His studio consists of several bins full of materials organized by object type and color. Although generally Olivier lets the objects inspire his artistic visions, occasionally he will have a specific project in mind and will search for objects to suit his goals. No paint, lacquer, or other embellishments are applied. When Olivier is finished with his sculptures, he leaves them in their raw state with their original windswept, waterlogged patina. They are all stored outside and can survive all weather conditions.

Since starting his yard art installation, Olivier has started to participate in several gallery shows as well. His more formal debut was at the “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade,” where he showcased the samurai warriors he made from hundreds of red Bic lighters. Some of his yard art sculptures are also available for purchase; inquiries can be made via his website http://markoliviersculpture.com.

~Irene Rible



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
Berkeley, California, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 37.892927 / -122.280228

Visiting Information

Located on Colusa Avenue between Monterey and Sonoma Avenues

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