Best Postal Worker Artist? / Kermit Oliver / Waco, Texas

I came across this article, and just had to post it!  From ‘Inside Wealth’

Hermes scarf designed by Kermit Oliver.
Source: Hermes
Hermes scarf with “Pony Express,” by Kermit Oliver.

We tend to think of Hermes scarves as being designed by European masters – the giants of Old World painting whose works have been resurrected from the 19th century and splashed onto three-foot slivers of silk.

But many of those scarves, in turns out, are designed by a postal worker near Waco, Tex.

According to a fascinating profile (which you really should read) in Texas Monthly by Jason Sheeler, the only American designer of Hermes scarves is a man named Kermit Oliver.

For the past 30 years he has sorted mail on the night shift of the Waco post office. He paints after work, in a 10-foot by 10-foot room he calls his “monk’s quarters.”

His work – which features exotic animals, fruit and surreal scenes of the Old West – was discovered by Hermes in the 1980. Since then, Oliver has designed 16 scarves. His most famous and best selling is the Faune et Flore du Texas, painted in 1987.

Hermes scarf designed by Kermit Oliver.
Source: Hermes
Hermes scarf designed by Kermit Oliver.

He spends six months to a year deisgning the scarves, paints them on a 90-by-90 centimeter square (the size of the scarf) and FedEx’s them to Paris. He said the money and fame doesn’t interest him, which is why his main job is sorting mail.

“Painting is just something I do,” he told Texas Monthly.”I chose not to support my family that way.”

Oliver’s works have sold for five figures at Houston galleries. Yet his life is simple: he buys his acrylic paint from Michaels craft stores and he once told a friend: “My needs are very simple. Give me a room with good northern light, my books, my art supplies, and a bed and stick some food under the door, and I’m the happiest man in the world.”

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About destructivetesting

I'm a self-taught artist who prefers to use found objects in ways that were never intended. I'm not interested in making 10 or 100 of the same object. This, of course, takes more time to make each piece. I also prefer a more minimalist look, where each part of a piece can be appreciated. I consider my clocks to be small sculptures with moving parts. And, my lamps to be small sculptures with light. My mirrors are reflective sculptures. DESTRUCTIVE TESTING means to push something to it's limits to understand it's structural performance or material behavior under different stresses. I interpret this in my artwork as using materials in different ways or combinations than they were designed to be used. I also just like the slightly ominous sound of the term...
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3 Responses to Best Postal Worker Artist? / Kermit Oliver / Waco, Texas

  1. isabellart says:

    that was fascinating !!! thanks for posting !

  2. clinock says:

    This man humbles me when I complain about my art making space – superb – thanks for sharing…

  3. Actually, I thought about you when I read his story.

    Mike

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