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Lucy Olcese is an artist currently displaying her participatory artwork ‘CONNECTION’ at Ormiston Town Centre. We chatted with Lucy about her background as an artist, her piece CONNECTION and why she loves Pom Poms!



Q: Tell us about your background, are you a local to Ormiston?

My name is Lucy Olcese. I’m a working artist originally from Argentina and now based locally. I’m currently displaying my art installation called: “CONNECTION” at Ormiston Town Centre.


Q: How would you describe your art?

I believe there is a misperception that art is complex and complicated. I want to make it accessible to everyone. My art is meaningful but also simple and straightforward. Playful and positive. I focus on creating experiences for people to feel moved.

I studied art at the University so I’ve been trained in different styles and art practices, but I’ve always been most interested in creating artworks that incorporate people, from spectators only, to contributors.


Q: ‘What does participatory art mean?’

Participatory art relies on the audience, community, or viewer to get involved! In that way, the artist, the artwork, and the spectator become part of the creative process.


Q: Tell us about the meaning behind the piece CONNECTION?

CONNECTION as an art installation, contains individual Pom Poms, from the community, family, and friends, all brought together.
Pom poms are so playful and energetic, they make people feel happy and positive. They awaken the senses through colours and softness.
I want to share with people the skill of creating a Pom Pom. I clearly remember that feeling of pride: “Wow I can make a Pom Pom!”.  At first, you might think it’s too hard to make, but when you finish you feel so good about yourself! You will never forget how to do it and you can easily show others.
Each Pom Pom represents someone from the community. Each one is different, just like with Pom Poms, that’s the beauty, but we’re all the same, we’re all humans (or Pom Poms) in the end.


Q: Why is the piece titled ‘CONNECTION’?

The work is titled CONNECTION as it connects people, but it also connects me back to my family history and my past, learning from my mother who taught me how to make Pom Poms when I was little.

Sometimes when you are creating a piece you can feel like your whole life is contained in the moment of creating your art. You feel like you’re totally immersed; for me, everything began with the Pom Pom!


Q: Who can take part in CONNECTION?

The activity is open to everyone, any age is welcomed, and no knitting experience is needed. Currently, people from all over the world are contributing to CONNECTION.

People who are separated geographically from across Auckland, New Zealand, and the world, are now connecting with one another and working together to create an artwork, all through colourful, playful Pom Poms!


Q: Tell us about how you came to be at Ormiston Town Centre?

A few years ago, I worked on a previous art project, call Outside the Box, which consisted of three different installations made of rooms – a Balloon room, a Dark room, and a Relaxing room. People could walk through the spaces, interacting & experiencing them.

I was supported by Uxbridge Arts & Culture in Howick which led to my work with Arts Out East, an organisation that supports artists in East Auckland.

I never envisioned that my project would be displayed in a shopping centre, but Arts Out East helped me to find the space at Ormiston Town Centre.


Q: How has Arts Out East and other organisations helped your work?

Sometimes as an artist, you can feel quite alone; you can have a good idea but it’s not enough. You need people and professionals to support you in order for your idea or project to work.
As an artist working with organisations like these, they do more than just support financially. They help artists, find spaces to create and display their works, and market and develop art projects by finding the right community and spaces. In addition, to promote artists’ work and answer any questions that arise in the whole process.

This has given me more options to develop my work, hence increasing my confidence as an artist.


Q: Last question – How many Pom Poms are in CONNECTION?

The aim is to have 3,000, but who knows! The more Pom Poms, the bigger the impact of the work. At the moment, I think we’re halfway there!

The CONNECTION installation is located outside New World until 6 May 2022. 

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Argentinean artist Lucy Olcese displays her installation, The Happiness Machine, this weekend.

Argentinian artist Lucy Olcese also features on Saturday's programme with her installation The Happiness Machine.

"The Happiness Machine is a device created to look inside yourself and make your reflection about happiness," Olcese says.

"As an artist I appreciate daily ordinary things in a different perspective, transforming them into something special.

"We quickly forget what really matters and this piece of art encourages you to check in with yourself of how happiness is in your life."

She says it's one of four recent projects she's collaborated on with Uxbridge Arts and Culture, in Howick.

"My goal as an artist is to generate and provide new artistic experiences in New Zealand."

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