Jim Oleson

Artist Statement

I design and make functional furniture, incorporating curved surfaces that are inspired by living forms I see in nature. I begin by imagining a three dimensional shape, refining the shape through many sketches, and then drawing the shape to scale. Much of the visual impact of a wood object derives from the wonderful colors and grain patterns possible in wood, so often I need to search for just the right piece. In my career as a research physicist and later as a medical practitioner and researcher, I found great satisfaction in the creative processes of formulating research questions and solving problems. Now as an artist I continue to derive satisfaction from designing forms and solving the problems associated with making them. I strive to create sculptural objects with a high degree of craftsmanship.

Jim Oleson was born in South Dakota and has lived in many cities in the U.S. as well as in Scotland. His favorite class in early school was always art; in high school he took studio art classes at a nearby junior college. He also did woodworking, influenced by two uncles with woodworking shops. These interests converged several decades ago when he began to use wood as a medium for artistic expression. He enjoys nature and incorporates the curves found in nature into the three dimensional furniture that he designs. He has mastered many techniques for achieving curved surfaces. Images of his work have appeared in a number of publications, and his work is shown in several galleries. He has been influenced by the work of George Nakashima, Michael Fortune, Martin Puryear, and Jere Osgood.