Freshman artist Olivia Noss to contribute to city’s vibrant art scene


Courtesy of Olivia Noss

Cam Lutz, Contributing Reporter

Tulane University’s Class of 2020 boasts many talented students with diverse interests and aptitudes. Olivia Noss, a studio art major from Washington, D.C., stands out as an example of the class’s elements of excellence.

Noss comes from a family of artists: her mother is a freelance illustrator, her brother is a musician, and her father, a contractor, designed and built her family’s house. Noss lives out her family’s artistic inclinations through her collages, which she turns into photo prints and sells online.

Noss has a unique artistic process, through which she decides what to trim and arranges in layers on a sheet of plain, white paper. When she is satisfied with the result, she sprays the images with photo mount to stick them onto the paper. She then scans the collage, tweaks it on Photoshop if necessary and prints it using a 12-inches-by-18-inches or 18-inches-by-24-inches sheet of photo gloss paper.

“I don’t have an idea before I start to make the collage,” Noss said. “Every time I look through a magazine, if I see something that catches my eye, I’ll just rip it out, and I’ll do that until I have a collection of stimulating photos.”

Noss started selling the printed collages late last spring at The posters sell for $10 or $40, depending on the size and material. She is hoping to increase her sales from Tulane students looking for uncommon dorm room decor. The posters, which generally depict women in a fantasy nature setting, hint at the mythical and allude to human interaction with nature.

Although Noss does create her work with an underlying “conceptual purpose,” she does not want to define it for her audience. She creates her work with the intention of leaving the underlying messages and meanings open to interpretation.

“A lot of art is made by the viewer, whether or not people think that.” Noss said.

On the other hand, she does not want people to focus solely on analysis. As college students, we spend hours everyday analyzing and categorizing the world around us. Sometimes, Noss believes, we should step back and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

“Oftentimes people forget that art sometimes . . . just serves an aesthetic purpose,” Noss said. “I’m not saying that my art has no conceptual purpose, but I think that surrounding yourself with beautiful things is definitely something to value in and of itself.”

While Noss’s artistic genius will surely enrich the New Orleans community, she also hopes the art scene in New Orleans will enrich her own artwork. Although much of her inspiration for past works came from nature, she believes that the lively streets, soulful people and vivid art of the city will influence her collages. 

The art scene in New Orleans even helped persuade her to attend Tulane. Torn between the University of Michigan and Tulane, Noss’ visit to the vibrant Frenchman Street Art Market, where local, up-and-coming artists line the street with their impassioned works, prompted her to accept Tulane’s offer of admission.

“[Living in New Orleans will] push me to go to get to know the city more than it would have if I weren’t doing art because there are so many places where you can find inspiration within the city,” Noss said. “It’s definitely motivating.”

It’s not just the city of New Orleans, but the people as well that she expects will enhance her time at Tulane.

“[Doing art] definitely opens up a whole new community of people,” Noss said. “I mean, in all art forms . . . there’s a certain community that comes with it, whether it be theater or music or artwork, and I’m excited to get to know people who share the same interests as me.”

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