The first time I met Olivia we were supposed to interview but ran out of time. But the next time we talked gluten-intolerance, financial responsibility, and perfectionism.
Olivia Accardo is a multimedia artist with a focus on video. Her subject matter is often focused on current culture and its many aspects.
So, you have a website.
Not really, I have like a tumblr that has the URL Odibz.biz. Um, and I don’t even use it that much. I need to fix that.
I’ve looked at it and I like it. But your Vimeo is enough. I did read that you’re a gluten intolerant Taurus? Do you think you’re a stereotypical Taurus?
I’d say so, I like can’t even remember a lot of the time. I know it’s like we’re stubborn or something and also like nice things. And I’m very stubborn and pretty materialistic in my own weird way. Like I always have to have like fancy phone case and nice computer and like cool things… um, even though I don’t make enough money to be as materialistic as I am, but I am.
So when you want things you just buy them right away?
I’m really bad with money, if I have a little extra change I will get that few hundred dollar pair of pants that I don’t need. Then my friends will be like, “Wait what did you do? Like I know you couldn’t even afford dinner last week.”
How does one even find out that they’re gluten intolerant?
When I was like twenty I had like four separate doctors tell me to like stop doing that to my body. Sooo, I just, I don’t eat it. I hate it being something that I have to bring up when we go out to like eat or something.
So as far as eating, do you take super good care of your body or anything?
I’ve been better. I mean I used to be like really crazy into working out and did triathlons a lot. I like eat basically well but I need to refind the time to work out and be responsible in that sense. But I’m not the kind of person you’ll ever catch drinking soda or eating cheetos. I was sort of raised that way, there were never bad snacks in my house. My stomach’s also like super sensitive and I get sick if I just like blink in the presence of something unhealthy.
Would you call yourself a perfectionist?
I would say I’m like the laziest perfectionist there ever was, if that makes any sense. I work really really hard to make sure something seems professional and good and clean and clear but I don’t start until last minute. And then I’ll be like “man, imagine if you actually did these things with the right amount of time. They would be so much better but you wait until the night before.”
Have you ever thought about how nothing is ever “perfect” in art and how frustrating that is?
Sure! I get into like, devoting a few hours and then forcing myself to walk away from it or else I’ll become obsessed and won’t let it go or see the light of day. But, I get to a point, where I look at a thing and think, ‘does this basically communicate that thing I was trying to say? Yes? Ok? Stop messing with it.’
Does it usually work out in the end?
Yeah, it does. I feel like it probably would work out better if I more cleverly broke up my time. So then I could like do two hours of work, walk away from it, sleep on it, be like “mm, maybe not the best.” And then change it instead of 13 hours all at once, then I’ve submitted it or uploaded it, or whatever – and by the time I’ve allowed myself to walk away it’s already too late.
Are there ever time or have there been when you’re not working on projects or where you have nothing to do? What do you do during those times?
I like get FOMO pretty easily so I’ll like force myself to go out then the next day I’m like “that was a waste of my time, I didn’t enjoy that at all, I don’t even like those people! Why did I drink that much to do nothing?” I would prefer to have people over and like drink a little here and like play a drinking game and watch movies than go to a bar. I will do everything in my power to never be in a club. I have friends who’re like “Hey, I’m DJing tonight at this thing!” And I’m like “I would rather kill myself, like I really can’t go there.” It just becomes, I don’t know it’s like I become so stressed out in that environment and I just like I can’t do it, I can’t. And I tend to like just drink too much because I’m like “If I drink I’ll have fun!” And then I drink and I’m not having fun and then I’m like “no one’s hitting on me, what’s wrong with me?” And then I’m like “Okay, go home.” Yeah I can’t, I need to go out with a purpose. Like we need to go see a movie or we’re going to a coffee shop, we’re going to this art thing. I can’t just like go to a bar to get drunk cause I will go home and be like “what did I accomplish today? Like 3000 more calories ingested today than I needed? Great.”
I really like your piece ‘Sex With You.’ Because conceptually it’s an interesting topic. What drew you to make that and to make it specifically that way?
Well, it’s actually kind of an interesting story. There’s this thing called VCLA which is Video Collective of Los Angeles. And once a month they do like a ‘bring your own video’ screening plus usually like a special guest or something. And I like met this guy on Tindr / he was at VCLA a lot. And we like hung out a couple times and he saw my ‘Are You Flirting With Me’ video. And he was like “Dude that was really great, I’d love to like hang out sometime and just like bounce ideas back and forth and look at each other’s videos.” Because he’s also like a motion graphics artist and video artist. And I was like “Totally.” And he came over and we had our computers and were looking at each other’s stuff and I opened my like ‘project file’ for ‘Are You Flirting With Me’ and he started like changing it. In a way that was like “I know better and this would probably be a better way to execute what you did.” And he outright said “I just don’t know that many like female animators.” And I so give people like 18 benefits of the doubt, like you could be a dick to me one time and I’d be like “Yeah but it was an accident.” Then you’re a dick to me a second time and I’ll be like “Yeah but he didn’t really mean it.” And then a third time and I’m like “Yeah but he’s basically nice.” So he was like mansplaining and being shitty and then he showed me his films and they were bad, like straight up bad. He was super pretentious but at the same time very insecure and shy and introverted. And I’m like “You’re the most amazing combination of personality traits.” So fast forward, we hang out a second time and we’re like talking in my room about work and stuff. And he was like straight up asking me for a job. He was like “I think your job sounds really cool. I’d love to work with you. I’d love to work at your company.” And I’m like “Oh, well, alright. I mean may- sure yeah. I guess I could write you a referral. I don’t know, are you networking with me.” And then he just like grabs my face and starts kissing me. And I was like “woahhhkay.” It was like a Tuesday night and I pushed him off. I was like “Hey dude, like I’m all down to make out, like that’s great. But I’m not gonna sleep with you.” And he was like “Why?” And I’m like “Well,” just cause I felt like weird and I didn’t wanna be like a dick. “It’s a Tuesday and I don’t have sex on a Tuesday.” He was like “What?” And I’m like “Yeah, you know.” And he kept trying and kept trying and kept trying to the point where his pants were off and he was literally about to rape me. And that’s when I gave him like a very violent shove and I was like “You have to go home now. Like I’ve been joking with you for an hour which is way too long. I’m just like so weird about these things and you have to go home.” And he was like “I can usually get hard it just helps if the person wants to fuck me.” And I was like “Did you just admit you’re like-what!?” He literally said ‘It would be easier for me to get hard if I had your consent.’ And I like sent him home and I was kind of like really shook up. And I’m just like, this isn’t the first time. This is like the worst case that it’s happened- well- not true. But it just like really put into perspective. I knew he was gonna be at a VCLA show that weekend so I was like “I’m gonna call this mother fucker out. And I’m gonna talk about everyone else who’s ever done this to me. And I’m just gonna talk about it and I’m terrified.” But it’s like I’m not alone with this fucking phenomena and that’s not how you treat a person. It happens and it’s amazing that saying word for word “hey, I don’t wanna have sex with you tonight,” isn’t enough. So yeah, I played that video on Sunday and I was like shaking in my fucking seat, just like so nervous. I also didn’t see him so I was like “I mean it’s still important.” Like I got the loudest round of applause, like it was dead silent the whole time and then like loud clapping and whistling. And once the lights were turned back on and we were leaving I saw that he was there. He had been sitting behind me and my heart started beating like out of my chest. And a bunch of strangers came up to me and were like “Dude, that was a really intelligent and not like aggressive, but still smart, approach of a topic that is important. And it didn’t feel like in your face in any way. It was kinda like light hearted but still like this is shitty.” And then that rapey guy texted me, I was with a bunch of girls, and he was like “Hey, I really liked your video. Can I hang out with you and your friends?” And I was like “Dude, no. Like that video was inspired by your behavior the other night.” And his response was “You clearly misunderstood, have a good life.”
He walked away from that situation being like “that girl was confused.” I think when it started happening to me when I was like really young, in high school and stuff, I didn’t see it. Like it didn’t occur to me that that was really bad behavior on someone else’s part, those were shitty things happening to me. I was like “It’s fine that I’m freaking out, I’m at home and I’m scrubbing my body raw after sleeping with this person that I didn’t want to sleep with.” Just because, I don’t know, I got nervous. It takes literally almost like eight years of shitty things like that happening before it finally clicks. And it’s only been in the past three years that like feminism has become very trendy and very loud. And hearing a lot of other people tell their stories and things it was like ‘Oh, that’s what I was feeling, that makes sense, that was bad. I wasn’t wrong and I was just an insecure girl trying to seem cool to that hot guy who took advantage of me.’ And even after him forcing himself on me, I would find myself walking away nervous being like “Did he think I was cool?”
Would you consider you art feminist or just made by a female?
I don’t know. I think I’m kind of a girly and subtly righteous personality. Like I’m not really loud and in your face about it but the more I write and create things that are very honest they just seem to naturally go in that direction because it’s just sort of how I speak and think and talk. Like I’m not outwardly trying to, I don’t know. It’s just sort of me, I guess. I’m not trying to be like “I am this feminist artist and that’s it.” It’s like that just happens to be part of it because that’s where I stand and if I excluded that it would be dishonest.
When did your style come out? How did that develop?
Probably within the past two years. I definitely always knew I was creatively inclined and struggled to figure out where exactly I should apply that. Once I decided it was motion media like animation and film I kind of struggled because I’m like a pretty nervous/anxious personality and like kinda shy. And if anyone ever critiqued me or talked over me I just let them have it. So if I had an idea and they’re like ‘that’s stupid’ or they took a camera out of my hands I was like “true, fine I don’t know what I’m doing.” And I just let it happen all the time and as a result my work wasn’t ever bad, but it was inconsistent and clearly like manipulated in a way that I wasn’t certain in what I was trying to say. Because someone else was like “you’re wrong, I’m smarter than you.” When I studied abroad, I studied abroad in the Czech Republic, we had to make a short film while we were there. And I was lucky enough to meet one other person who is one of my best friends today. She was like “You’re one of the quieter people in our class but you seem to be one of the smarter ones. And you’re the one who never says anything, doesn’t express how you feel about something but you always pull me aside afterwards and you have some really smart things to say. It upsets me that you don’t vocalize this.” And I was like “Woah, still not gonna vocalize it but thanks like I’ll tell you personally but I’m not about to put myself on a pedestal.” But hearing someone who I respected and admired and always thought was really smart and talented tell me that, who knew me really well at this rate was like… “Maybe I should stop letting other people decide what I should be doing.” And we made this really dumb short film called ‘Hyper Loser.’ And it didn’t really pan out but it was like something that I was finally really passionately proud of. I knew it didn’t totally make sense but it was my sense of humor and it was me and it was her. And there was no one who took something out of my hands and said “No.” And even if there was someone who hinted at that I was like “Oh no, fuck you. This is what I wanna do and I don’t care if it doesn’t totally pan out.” And even afterwards people were like “I don’t know if that made sense but it was also so much you guys and definitely entertaining and weird, like you guys.” And I think I took that high and that confidence from like a failed film to move forward and apply it to things and be like “why don’t you make it more successful. And just give yourself targets and if you know there’s an art show coming up like put something in it. Make something new every time, just do it.” And I started doing that and people like-it was like being received well. Every project that I’ve posted and made public, it was just like hacking away at the fact that I can do better and I will do better. And that confidence definitely came from making that stupid movie Hyper Loser. And like meeting people who’re similar to me and also hating people who would take things out of your hands and be like “You’re an idiot.” It’s just about finding the right people who also believe that you know what you’re doing. Instead of hovering around people and being like “We’re all like-minded because we all wanna make movies.” And it’s like, that doesn’t make you like-minded.
Olivia’s work can be found at vimeo.com/oliviaaccardo or on her instagram @Odibz