Note - this interview by Amanda Thiel was conducted in early 2015 before the 2015 Delaware Fun-A-Day. More new interviews coming soon!
Today we are getting to know Jason Olney. He is a past participant, a math and science lover, graphic designer, robot illustrator and one of the first parent-participants to inspire their children to do projects of their own. He tells us all about fractals, one of his favorite participant projects from last year (who is showing again this year – yay!) and also what he’s working on for the upcoming Delaware Fun-A-Day 2015. So let’s find out more of what inspires in our Delaware Fun-A-Day blog interview!
We like to know how people are connected to Delaware, are you a resident, born and raised?
I am a true Delawarean. I was raised in Newark and I still live there today.
How did you get introduced to Delaware Fun-A-Day? What or who inspired you to participate?
I was introduced to Fun-A-Day by Kati Driscoll. For whatever reason I didn't participate the first year. However, I've been doing it ever since and I really love it and look forward to it.
Have you introduced/hooked any people into participating in Delaware Fun-A-Day?
I got my friends Liz and Nick Allen to participate for a couple years. I don't think they would consider themselves artists, but I believe that anyone can be creative. I really enjoyed the projects that they did. Liz's was more abstract and Nick's was about his passion, martial arts.
How long have you been making art? How did you get started?
I've been making art for as long as I can remember. I didn't take it seriously, though until college. I went to the University of the Arts in Philly where I majored in film and minored in animation. What I took away from that was a good sense of color, composition and technical know-how. Although I didn't pursue film, I now am a freelancer. I do mostly graphic design and web design, but I will take on any creative project including illustration, photography, photo restoration, etc.
You are a seasoned Delaware Fun-A-Day participant; tell us about your past projects and what inspired you.
My first project was Robot-A-Day. I love math, science and tech, and I'm really interested in A.I and robotics. I used Illustrator and Photoshop to draw both real life and imaginary robots. Some of the real life robot portraits I did were of Big Dog, a quadrupedal robot created by Boston Dynamics; Asimo, which is Honda's bipedal humanoid robot; and Hearoid, which was my pet robot as a kid.
What is your preferred medium? Do you like to branch out into different mediums?
I love computer art. My favorite mediums are Photoshop and Illustrator. Of course, I love trying anything. I've tried my hand at colored pencils, oil painting, photography, origami, calligraphy, and woodworking to name a few. In the future I would really like to try holography or stereoscopic photography.
Where did you get the inspiration for your project in 2014?
Last year I did Fractal-A-Day. Fractals are patterns that repeat themselves at different scales, Like the branches of trees or the chambers of a nautilus. The fractals that I worked with are graphic representations of a certain kind of mathematical formula that create these patterns. I have been playing with fractals since the 80's. A teacher had an early fractal program and I used to spend hours on it finding interesting shapes and patterns. My next step with fractals is to try and write new formulas myself rather than relying on formulas others have supplied.
Do you have a favorite place to hang out in Delaware? Any hidden gems we should make time to check out?
I'm a homebody. I love hanging out with my wife and kids watching movies and playing video games. I love nature, so when I do go out, it's usually to a park. My favorite is White Clay Creek. I've been hiking there since I was a kid and it feels like a giant back yard to me.
You are planning to participate in the upcoming 2015 show. What made you want to come back?
I love the people involved and the art. I'm also usually very busy with work and kids and this gives me an excuse to create something for myself.
Tell us more about "Crappy Clip Art-A-Day! That sounds fun.
This was an idea I'd had for a while. I have a bunch of disks full of all kinds of clip art from the 90's. Some of it is totally surreal and I started playing around with it and making these ridiculous collages. I'm having a lot of fun just creating stuff that makes me laugh.
Did you have a favorite project from Delaware Fun-A-Day 2014? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?
I really loved all of it, but Alisha Jones' photography for May-A-Day sticks out in my mind. I can't wait to see what she does this year!
We love having new participants in the Delaware Fun-A-Day show each year, what kind of advice can you pass along to this year's newbs?
One thing that I learned from my first show is to really do a piece a day! It can be very easy to fall behind if you skip a few days. Then you're trying to catch up by doing two or three a day and you're not giving them 100%.
Do you have any other projects or events that you are working on this year?
I got a lot of positive feedback for the fractals, so I'm continuing to make more of those. I also want to improve my photography skills this year.
Do you have any personal Art-throbs or idols?
I love M.C. Escher. One of the things that really attracts me to him is that he just has an intuitive sense of mathematics and the infinite.
Do you have anything additional for us?
My daughters, Allison and Mika participated in Fun-A-Day last year. One of my favorite things was the overwhelmingly positive response they got. They were so proud of themselves. Mika is doing it again this year - look out for Cloud-A-Day!