Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

(1948-    ) US painter of light erotica, often with fantasy elements – e.g., giving people bird or butterfly wings, or the surface markings of an exotic animal such as a leopard or zebra. Her pictures usually consist of a single, languidly posed female against a white background, airbrush-painted with a delicate touch and a particular skill in rendering the texture of soft fur and feather, lace and human flesh.

Born in California, Olivia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1967. From 1974, she secured a niche painting her erotic fantasy women for men's magazines. In 1977, with her husband Joel Beren, she set up the greetings-card business O Cards to publish her work, which has since appeared in calendars and on the covers of magazines such as Heavy Metal.

Female painters of cheesecake, although virtually unknown in other countries, are not uncommon in the USA, with Mabel Rollins Harris in the 1930s and 1940s and Zoe Mozart (Alice Adelaide Moser) in the 1950s and 1960s forming something of a tradition which continues with O from the 1970s to the present and Julie Bell in the 1980s and 1990s. All include a large element of idealized self-portraiture in their work.

A collection of Olivia's art is Let Them Eat Cheesecake: The Art of Olivia (graph 1993 US). [RT]

Olivia de Berardinis


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.