Nashville born Olivia Steele is the creative director and co-founder of the Pop-Dining experience Pret a Diner. Launched in 2010, Pret a Diner has since opened in 15 locations across Europe and Brazil. Olivia is also a conceptual artist specialising in neon light sculptures that provoke the contrasts and contradictions of our modern culture, represented by Circle Culture Gallery Berlin. After studying in Switzerland and graduating University in Paris with a degree in international communications and psychology, Steele is now based between London, Berlin, and Tulum Mexico.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
I would love to cross the line with David LaChappele. I could imagine a crazy scene with me, and my neon works layered in the background. A limited edition Playboy spread would be fantastic.
Who inspires you and why? An artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
Jenny Holzer. She is so original and unique. She pushes boundaries, and yet is so quiet and poised about it. I also admire her lack of ego, and even though I don't know her, I have always felt I do, as we seem to share a similar background and outlook.
What are your cultural aspirations? What do you still want to see, do and achieve?
My purpose in this life is to inspire, teach, and learn by way of art. I aspire to continue to challenge cultural belief systems and dissolve cultural boundaries through art. I've always said I wanted to do a job that makes people's lives better, and I hope to build more spiritually powerful pieces that enhance people's living spaces and mentality. I plan to take my urban project 'Public Display of Affection' to cities across the world, involving local communities and kids with artistic talent.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
Istanbul, because it’s so full of cultural contrasts - it’s really the melting pot between Europe and Asia, with so much to do and see, and the shopping is unparalleled. Mexico City is also really worth exploring, I feel I have only scratched the surface and I am planning to explore more.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
I am editing a film I shot last year, called 'Out Of The Wild', which is a short artistic film / documentary based on a real personal experience that I felt needed to be captured on film. This experience also inspired a series of installations - 7 statements written in neon and installed in nature and unexpected surroundings. I hope to finish it soon, but a master piece is never finished. . . pretadiner.comoliviasteele.com August 2014.