Eric John Olson’s work focuses on participatory art practices and social engagement. In 2018 he was the winter artist in residence at the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park with Tia Kramer and in 2016-17 was an artist in residence at MadArt Studio with artist Gail Grinnell and Samuel Wildman. He has been awarded project grants by the City of Seattle, 4Culture, Seattle Public Library and The Project Room. His work has been written about in The Seattle Times, CityArts Magazine, The Stranger, Spin Magazine, The Creator’s Project, and in many other publications.

Recently Olson worked with contributors across the United States to create the “Dead Dad Dining Club Vol. 1”, a collection of poetic recipes that remind people of their absent fathers. During a residency at MadArt Studio, Olson co-hosted weekly public meals with authors based off their story and sewed large felt club banners to commemorate each meal. In 2015 Olson worked with The Seattle Public Library to conduct oral histories with members of Seattle’s vibrant LGBTQ community and created a series of short videos from the interviews. Interviewees were recreated as muppet-like puppets and memories were stop-animated. The work is now in the permanent public archive of the library. In 2014, Olson worked with Samuel Wildman on a public art project that solicited advice from octogenarians in retirement homes and created a marketable health and lifestyle plan called “Be Vintage”. The project attempted to reframe the role of retirement homes in our communities by creating a web based platform, thematic podcasts and a public ad campaign. The project was shortlisted on Creative Capital’s “On Our Radar” after making it to the third round of the 2015 Emerging Fields award process.

Artist Statement

I am a serial collaborator focused on cooperative and participatory art practices. I work with the invisible spaces that separate people from each other to sculpt new ways of connection. My work balances the line between levity and gravity, using humor and aesthetics to confront uncomfortable feelings. Whether performed, interactive or existing only in a state of potential, my work creates a holding space for a kind of radical therapy that unabashedly believes in the power of our collective imagination.


Eric John Olson
519 W Roy St
Seattle, WA 98119
future [at] ericdidit.com
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