Olivia de Berardinis is one of the most well-known and talented modern pin-up artists. Her images regularly appear in major magazines such as Playboy and are favorites of erotic art fanatics worldwide.
De Berardinis was born in 1948 in California, but her father’s work as a freelance engineer had the family bouncing around the East Coast for most of Olivia’s childhood. One of her most important early influences was her playful and free-spirited mother, who provided encouragement and even served as nude model for Olivia’s amateur drawing. Art became a release in a world full of adults and her talent, particularly with the female form, was evident at an early age.
In her late teens Olivia went to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts. After graduating, she took a variety of jobs while continuing to do her art, which at this time consisted mostly of minimalist oil paintings. Eventually the difficulty of scraping together a living provided reason to rethink her artistic direction. Since she had always been fascinated by the female figure and had shown youthful talent drawing nudes, she started painting beautiful women again. This led to reliable work as a commercial artist, painting erotic art for paperbacks and fantasy periodicals. Widespread distribution helped her gain recognition, and soon she was hired to paint erotic fantasies for men’s magazines. The mature career of Ms. De Berardinis had begun.
The mid-70s brought the artist together with Joel Beren, who would become both her business partner and husband. Together they established two companies. The first was O Cards, which printed Olivia’s work on greeting cards. The second was Ozone Productions Ltd., which licensed her work. They both worked extremely hard to establish Olivia as one of the premier erotic artists of her time. The hard work paid off with Olivia’s first publishing agreement, which she signed with Robert Bane Publishing. Over the span of two decades Bane released over 200 limited editions of de Berardinis’ work and she had several one-woman shows in the galleries of Robert and his wife Tamara.
The art of Olivia de Berardinis is sizzling with wild eroticism. Her subjects range from classic betties with shiny black bangs and devilish stares through nurses, cowgirls, and sultry substitute teachers to seductive pin-up representations of celebrities like Pamela Anderson.
There is plenty of leather, lingerie, stockings and garters, heels, tattoos and erotic props. These paintings are loaded with playful fetishism, glamor and burlesque. Most of her subjects are in classic pin-up poses on brushed or monochrome backgrounds. Yet Olivia maintains versatility, doing fantasy erotica and painting women with wings and other female-animal hybrids.
The artist’s technical mastery is proven with a variety of media, primarily watercolor, gouache, and giclee. She also frequently does lithographs. Some of her images are have the luscious feel of the airbrush while others are almost painfully realistic. Many of her images are fundamentally surreal, combining elements of traditional eroticism and pin-up in new ways. The detail and sensuality of the paintings are not lost in reproduction.
Here is Olivia’s goal, in her own words: “I am always trying to simplify the image, to make it look effortless, to make the woman powerful, sexy, and dignified.” It would appear that she regularly succeeds at this.
Current / Recent Activity
Olivia and her husband Joel live in Los Angeles where she continues to paint while Joel plays the role of manager. The exclusive publishing relationship with Robert Bane Publishing ended in 2003, and in 2005 Olivia and Joel began doing all representation and print publishing themselves as part of Ozone Productions Ltd. Books, catalogues, postcards and collectibles featuring de Berardinis’ erotic work are all available online through eOlivia.
Pinup works are also published every month in Playboy Magazine. Ms. de Berardinis enjoys and excellent creative partnership with Hugh Hefner, whose influence through Playboy is immense. This arrangement is a testament to Olivia’s prominence in the world of erotic art and her great talent.
Distribution of the artist’s images is also made possible through a contract with Creative Image Licensing and Management, which sells rights to individual images and works for use in signature works. Joel continues his tireless work behind the scenes and provides support in many ways. Together they manage the Olivia brand.
Ozone Productions is in the process of putting together several limited edition works which will appear in both their online gallery as well as Bettie Page, Las Vegas.
- new work shown at ‘Erotics Gallery’ in New York City, 1982
- gala one-woman show at the newly opened Tamara Bane Gallery in Los Angeles, 1987
- fourteen one-woman shows at the galleries of Robert and Tamara Bane
- published Let Them Eat Cheesecake, the first of five books published under Olivia and Joel’s own Ozone Productions, 1993
- one-woman shows in San Francisco, Tokyo, New York and other major cities
- regularly published in Playboy Magazine
- work is popular with fans and collectors worldwide, particularly in the United States and Japan