Bio, February, 2006
H a r o l d O l e j a r z began his career as a sculptor. He worked mostly in wood and created wood sculptures ranging from waves to figural sculptures inspired by Greek Sculpture. Later, he turned to Performance Art and created wearable sculptures. He installed himself, as art, in museums and public spaces across the country. His performances were written about in many newspapers and featured on TV news programs, including NJN and WOR in the New York area. He even made the cover of the NY Daily News.
Olejarz’s art has been exhibited in numerous galleries and at the New Museum in New York and The Newark Museum and The Jersey City Museum in New Jersey. Olejarz was awarded a public art commission by NJ Transit. For this commission he created two etched glass block windscreens, that are installed at the Pavonia/Newport Light Rail Station in Jersey City.
In the last ten years Olejarz has been involved in digital art, working with scanners, digital cameras and imaging software. His digital images have grown out of a deep interest in using technology as an art-making tool. His previous work as a performance artist is also a factor. In a series of digital images, Olejarz recaptures the excitement of an unpredictable interactive street performance by treating a flatbed scanner as a stage on which his hands perform. The images show Olejarz’s hands, often holding objects, distorted by his movements during the scanning process.
Olejarz has received numerous grants and awards for both his art and his teaching. He teaches digital media at Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, NJ. Included in his many grants are two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships and grants from the Dodge Foundation, Franklin Furnace, Painted Bride and the Wisconsin Arts Board.
As an educator Olejarz has been on the forefront of digital technologies. He edited a book on Photoshop Elements and his essay, Capturing the Moving Present, Digital Video in the Artroom, is included in Video Art for the Classroom, published by the National Art Education Association. Davis Publications, a leading art education publisher, asked Olejarz to write a handbook on digital media for their High School textbook and has posted the handbook on their web site. Olejarz has presented at many state and national conferences on art and technology.
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