Archetypes: Olivia Lahs-Gonzales
An interview with Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, artist, photographer, author and director of the Sheldon Art Galleries. Coming from a long line of artists, Lahs-Gonzales inherited a deep devotion to art in all its forms and has dedicated her life to sharing it. At the Sheldon, she directs educational programs, assists in fundraising and curates six gallery spaces focused on photography, architecture, jazz history, St. Louis artists, children’s art and multimedia.
What is your current frame of mind? Excited about the fall.
When and where are you happiest? When I’m with my child.
What is your favorite smell? Lilac, fresh-cut grass and the air after rain.
What is one word that describes you? Mostly together.
What did you eat for breakfast today? Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Probably the awful word, “like.”
What is your most marked characteristic? The gap in my teeth.
What is your greatest weakness? ChocolateÛÓ boring, but true.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life? My child.
What trait do you most admire in others? Serenity.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To be more serene.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Several books that I’ve written, and two exhibitions that travelled.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would it would be? A philanthropist.
What is your most treasured possession? Artwork by my family, and my Steiff bear.
What is your greatest fear? Becoming ill and not being able to take care of my child.
On what occasion do you lie? When diplomatic reasons necessitate.
Who is your favorite painter? Pierre Bonnard.
Who are your favorite photographers? William Eggleston, Lewis Baltz, John Gossage and Peter Fraser.
Who is your favorite artist? German Expressionists and Fauve painters.
What is your favorite medium? Painting, photography and video. Oh, and drawing, too.
What is your favorite hobby? Jewelry-making.
Where would you like to live? A coastal town in Greece.
Who are your heroes in real life? My mom.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? The poet Billy Collins and Roger Daltrey.
What’s something interesting that you just learned?
I learned that emeralds, morganite, aquamarine, bixbite and golden beryl are all stones from the same familyÛÓthe beryl family. What an amazing range of colors!
What are you most looking forward to? Another trip to either the ocean or the mountains.
What is something you still want to learn? How to weld, and how to make metal jewelry.
What is one thing you want to do before you die? See a real live whale, and travel to see the Guilin Mountains in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be? Look before you leap.
What time period do you think you identify the most with? I love 1920s Europe because it was a time of experimentation, pushing boundaries and going against the status quo.
What is your greatest extravagance? My monthly massage club membership that I rarely get to use, and works of art I’ve collected by artists that I admire.
What is one thing you want to happen? To stay healthy in mind and body. And, peace in the Middle East.
Photo credit: Wesley Law