About Bettie Page: Artwork by Olivia De Berardinis
American painter Olivia De Berardinis is recognized for a long career of painting women of glamour, pinup, burlesque and fantasy. Her popular culture work of Bettie has been reproduced in many publications worldwide.
In the 1950’s, Bettie Page captured the attention of fans across the world as the queen of pin-ups and the first bondage model. Many believe her distinctive look and diverse appeal sparked a revolution making her the subject of art, film, books and merchandise. American painter Olivia de Berardinis is recognized for her testimonials to the pinup queen through pin-up art, which can be seen regularly in issues of Playboy Magazine.
Olivia de Berardinis was born in Long Beach, California in 1948 but spent most of her time growing up on the East Coast. Her beloved father was a freelance aeronautical engineer, resulting in frequent family moves during childhood. She once described her mother as a “disgruntled glamour-puss.” She would entertain Olivia with terrible imitations of Mae West, Garbo, Dietrich, Hepburn and Zsa Zsa Gabor. She also once described her as “a cross between Sophia Loren, Lucille ball, and Rosie the Riveter.”
Olivia began drawing at a young age. With her mother as her muse, drawing became a way for her to detach her self from new environments.
In 1967, she enrolled at the New York School of Visual Arts. During this time, she had the opportunity to participate in fine art shows in Manhattan and got a taste for the progressive art scene happening in New York. Eventually, she found herself trying to make ends meet and started pitching her work to men’s magazines. This was a fit for Olivia considering her remarkable knack for drawing women. At the time, she only thought of this as a temporary job until her “real” art career began.
In 1975, Olivia met her husband Joel and the couple moved to Malibu, California, where they reside today. They began publishing her work on greeting cards, and created the company Ozone Productions, Ltd., which allowed her to sell her erotic and pin up art. At this time, Olivia began creating some of the most well known portrayals of Bettie Page, referencing vintage Bettie Page photos from Joel’s collection. Her fantasy like style of painting is well suited for the likeness of Bettie Page.
In her recent book, “Malibu Cheesecake”©, Olivia describes the iconic brand and uniqueness of Bettie, “Black bangs, seamed stockings and snub nosed 6″ stilettos. These are Bettie Page signatures, anyone who dons them wears her crown. Although the fantasy world of fetish/bondage existed in some form since the beginning time, Bettie is the iconic figurehead of it all.
No star of this genre existed before her. Monroe had predecessors, Bettie did not.” In another passage, Olivia describes the intrigue of Bettie, “In the mid-to late 70’s, Bettie became the emblem of a deviant sub-culture, popping up in avant-garde fashion and art. She was the strong bodied bad girl, whose fetish pictures posited a sexual independence decades ahead of the era when she posed.” Joel and Olivia were personal friends of Bettie in her late years.
Olivia’s work remains popular today and is collected by fans worldwide. She has had art shows all over the United States and in Japan. She is grateful to be working with Hugh Hefner the “pin-up genius” and Playboy Magazine to publish images each month. “Hef writes the captions, I paint the pinup” For the last decade, Olivia has had a pinup page in Playboy, captions by Hef, art by Olivia. “I’ve experienced the pinnacle of my pinup art career working with icon Hugh Hefner whose Playboy empire is based on the art of pinup. It has been an incredible experience having Hef as a friend and having a working relationship with him.” Olivia is thrilled to be the artist of so many pin-up works and appreciates ever part that goes into production. She is considered to be the muse behind the muse by many.
For more information about Olivia and her artwork, visit eOlivia.com.