Having a genuine connection with people has inspired Oli’s passion projects—creating beautiful portraits with other creatives. MNSTR Gallery is part studio part gallery where Oli exhibits her work alongside her partner Ben with the plan to showcase more creatives.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? I fell in love with design back in high school where I raised my awareness for design and art. My family has always appreciated design from different angles, my parents designed their own furniture and exported from Indonesia (recently retired), my 2 older brothers are in interior and industrial design. I ended up taking up visual communications in university where I dappled in both graphic design + illustration.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the studio that you work for. I’m a photographer by trade for the last 7 years specializing in food and portraiture, and previously was a freelance Graphic Designer. I’m into all things design, art, collaborative projects with creatives from different backgrounds, and interested in photography through a documentary perspective. MNSTR Gallery is primarily a creative studio with a gallery space created in our loft home in Vancouver BC where my partner, Ben and I collaborate to create this multi functional space with our individual artworks in mind. It’s a place where we can exhibit our own works and eventually hosting group exhibits and representing other artists whose work we admire in the future. It’s an artist run initiative where we don’t have labels and just want to show the kind of artwork that we like, I also plan to help out artists/designers who need help with the direction of their work and such.
Any passion projects you would like to share? My passion projects have always involved collaborations with other creatives such as the first portraiture book that I’ve self published back in 2013, a project that took a year to photograph over 80 portrait subjects from the electronic music industry in Singapore. This is one of the biggest projects I’ve taken on, it required me to conceptualize, photograph, art direct on the look of the book and also the organizing the logistics of getting the book from concept to printing. (https://www.osg.photography/hcpp). My current on going passion project is my #GraphicallySpeaking_ project, (www.osg.photography/gssg) a mixed media project that involves photography and illustration, I absolutely have loved illustration all my life and appreciate the different types of work from other artists… when I came up with this, I wanted to combine photography and illustration together. Each piece is a representation of the artist through their printed portrait and the visual artist (illustrator/designer/etc) drawing out their personality in the negative space. The series started in Singapore with 12 artists and have since made a move to Vancouver with my partner and continuing the series with 12(or more) Vancouver based artists to be curated and exhibited in 2018. I plan to continue this project to as many cities as possible. I have a collaborative artist name that I share with my partner, under BOGART (Ben Oli Goerlach Art). It’s a platform where we experiment with different topics through visuals and outputs. One of my series is the Bogart’s Animated Soup cans using pop culture symbols. We’ll be hosting a Bogart Exhibit later on in the year.
What advice would you give students starting out? To be open to different experiences and roles as long as they are able to utilize their skill and their passions. Change is constant in our creative journeys and we just have to go with the flow, create your own path where needed and learn from mistakes when they happen.
How important is networking to you?
Networking is extremely important, to connect genuinely with others not just for work but for real connections to a person that you vibe with. It’s been part of my process for the last 14 years as a creative entrepreneur.
What do you think the design community could do more of to give back? I think the design community could give back by contributing their skills to non-profits. With my photography work, I have volunteered my skill for several non-profits that are close to my heart. Usually these organizations are focused on helping others and not really thinking of their aesthetic. It’s a great chance to contribute your skill for something good and also create a branding/look for the organization and have it as part of your portfolio in the end (And also making more connections within and around the organization.)