Eleanor Quist Costello Olson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, surrounded by nature, dogs, and women. Olson’s mothers instilled a love of art from a young age, and by 12-years-old they knew they wanted to pursue a career in painting.
Eleanor recently graduated in the Rhode Island School of Design Class of 2020 with a BFA in Painting and concentrations in Race, Gender, and Sexuality; and Nature, Culture, and Sustainability.
In January 2019, Eleanor spent a month camping around Guyana with a small group of peers. While there, they studied biodiversity and conservation, focusing on cataloguing beetle coloration.
During fall of 2019, Eleanor spent four months in RISD’s residency style study abroad program in Rome. There, Eleanor painted a mural at I Gatti di Torre Argentina, built an installation in Palazzo Cenci, and created many paintings and drawings.
Currently, Eleanor lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island with their partner, snake, and cat. Eleanor is influenced by gender and race theories, social and political histories, nature, and our current ecological state. This past summer, Eleanor held the First Congregation of the Church of the Damned, an interdisciplinary exploration into the intersection between religious depictions of the apocalypse and images of the current ecological crisis. The performance asked attendees to reconsider their relationship with nature and their place in the modern apocalypse through communal guilt and grieving. Additionally, Eleanor explores their own relationship to body, gender, storytelling, self love, and identity through a growing series of self portraits. These humorous paintings often draw on mythology, novels from Eleanor's childhood, and parodies of historical European painting.