Olivier Giron


"Instigate. Activate." 

When | Jan. 24 - April 4, 2015.

Where| Arlington Arts Center | 3550 Wilson Blvd Arlington VA 22201

Opening Reception, Saturday, Jan. 24, 6 pm - 9 pm.

Emerging Curators Spotlight: Instigate. Activate. | new curators, new ideas

Exhibition Card

"ACC Blog"

The opportunity to hear the backstories from the artists themselves is another perk of our gallery talks. Giving inanimate objects life and context, these stories are always fascinating and just as often inspiring. Olivier Giron, who has five photographs and five terrariums displayed as part of Chenoweth’s Wrapped & Wrapped exhibition, shared with visitors the circumstances which led to his photographic series, Something Out of Nothing.

Recalling a trip to Peru, during which he encountered a dumpsite of red garbage bags nestled deep in a forest near Machu Pichu, Giron shared with the audience how the experience prompted him to “delve into [humans’] interactions with the landscape.”


"Bay 101: Air Pollution"

September, 2013

The Chesapeake Bay Program

Air pollution affects each of the 17.7 million people who live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. But it doesn’t just cloud the air we breathe. Airborne pollutants can also harm our land and water, fueling the growth of harmful algae blooms that create oxygen-depleted dead zones in the Bay. Randy Mosier from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) explains how our watershed is affected by the “airshed” that surrounds it, and how airborne pollutants fall onto our land and into our water.

Produced by Steve Droter and Olivier Giron

[Photo Essay]

Chesapeake Bay Program

"Chesapeake Bay ospreys serve as sentinels for pollution" 

Images by Steve Droter and Olivier Giron. Captions by Catherine Krikstan.

August, 2013

Link to the Photo Essay

"For almost two decades, state and federal partners have worked to rebuild Poplar Island in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Once home to a sawmill, a general store and a schoolhouse, the island succumbed to sea level rise, shrinking to a fraction of its size by 1996. Rebuilt using sand and sediment dredged up from the bottom of the Bay and hand-planted with native marsh grass, the island has become a refuge for 175 species of shorebirds, songbirds, waterfowl and raptors..."



"The Middle, Here and There"

August, 2013

Last August I had the opportunity to travel to some of the most remote places in the U.S. This video was one of the results from the trip.

Produced by Olivier Giron


Sustainability: The Journal of Record

"Form Follows Function: Eco-Art and Its Place in the Sustainability Movement" 

By Ted Mero

June, 2013

Link to the Article

"The scene opens with an open, grassy field. In the back corner of the screen lay a collection of tires lumped together with a pile of indiscernible materials. Olivier Giron appears in a white jumpsuit and begins to turn the materials into “Something Out of Nothing,” the name of the artist’s three-minute video, shot in fast-motion. By the end, the something is a fully enclosed, nonfunctional outhouse, complete with toilet and swinging door.

Giron’s video is part of a larger effort to inform the public of illegal dumping in his native Fairfax County, Virginia, where people have been taking truckloads of trash into the middle of the woods. Giron is documenting his findings through the use of geotagged photographs correlated to an online map and posting them on the website of Let’s Do It!, an international organization that’s helped him launch Let’s Do It! Virginia. Beyond that, he’s building and leaving the “trash” sculptures on-site in hopes of starting a dialogue with the illegal dumpers.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in land architecture, Giron earned his MFA in photography from George Mason with the help of Cooley, who played a key role on his thesis committee. Giron believes coming from a structured background, as he did in design and architecture, has helped him approach his art from a more methodical perspective.

“Whether I’m doing a photography project or a sculpture project or landscape design, I approach it the same way, by starting out with sketches and diagrams and thinking about relationships,” Giron says. “In that sense, I feel like I have benefitted in allowing my creativity to grow, but at the same time I have a very practical sensibility in how I approach things.”

Giron believes that, while his architectural background helps him stay grounded, his artistic side has its own advantages. “The thing I respond to about art is that it’s more flexible in how you approach things—and it can just be about a dialogue,” Giron explains. “Maybe more can come out of it, and that’s fantastic. But to me, as I push my own work, having the ability to talk to people about things they would normally not think about is worthwhile on its own.”

When Giron first began his illegal dumping project, he focused on the science of it, photographing sprawling stretches of trash and highlighting statistics and other fact-based information to illustrate the devastating effects of the pollution. It wasn’t until he brought more of an artist’s mentality to it, however, that he started to garner a significant response.

“People weren’t really engaging with that because they are so inundated with imagery of waste and our ecosystems being devastated,” he says. “By engaging the project from a social standpoint, where I was making this a social experiment about what happens when you do something in the middle of nowhere and people see it and engage with it, it tended to interest people more.”



Falls Church News-Press

"F.C. Spring Clean-Up Spawns Sculpture by Local Eco Artists" 

By Giselle Betbeder

April 23, 2013

Link to the Article

"The saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” was proved true by a group of artists this month, when they used trash collected around the City of Falls Church to do something extraordinary.

The morning of April 13, a group of eco-conscious artists met at the Falls Church Community Center to make a piece of “eco art.” Ecological art, or “eco art,” is a form of environmentally friendly art, created by artists who are concerned about issues such as sustainability and conservation..."



"Alchemical Vessels" 

When | FRI, 4/26/2013 - FRI, 6/7/2013

Where| Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery | 1632 U Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Opening Reception, 7-9pm Friday, April 26, 2013.

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Claiming Ground

"We ask that each invited artist work to transform [a] mundane bowl form into an alchemical vessel and to consider the question of what it means to transform poison into medicine, or pain into wisdom. Thus, with your participation and creative contribution, the 125 works will hang together as a community dialogue on healing and transformation through the arts." -Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

Through my exploration of illegal dumpsites, I couldn't help but notice how nature is attempting to heal itself from our impact by using our detritus as a growing medium, creating a stark contrast between our synthetic materials and living organisms.

This vessel uses only those synthetic materials. They were all found at an illegal dumpsite in Fairfax Virginia. By assembling carpets, shirts, and other materials, this container becomes the perfect example of nature’s transformative qualities. This system will continue to survive with only sunlight, and the moisture sealed within the container. The plants within will regulate their own production of both the needed Oxygen and CO2. The water will remain within the container without evaporating.


[Artist Talk]


When | THRS, 3/7/2013 @ 7pm

Where| Fall Church Arts Gallery | 410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church, VA


Falls Church Times

"The Falls Church Arts ECO ART SHOW juried by OLIVIER GIRON (www.oliviergiron.com) highlights the current of socially engaged art. The art show is about more than the art on the walls and is designed to raise social consciousness and activism.

This Thursday, Falls Church Arts will have a special program highlighting environmental issues with a presentation by Olivier Giron at 7:30 pm. Olivier’s environmental design training influences his artistic pursuits – pushing and promotion environmental consciousness. Giron’s work has been highlighted on Voice of America, and ABC News Channel WJLA."



Redefining Eco

"Trash and Treasure" 

By Juliet Glassroth

January 3, 2013

Link to the Interview

"Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Olivier Giron – a young man who is a unique combination of artist, environmentalist and activist. His work is on display through mid-January in an exhibit called “The Ripple Effect” at the Art Museum of the Americas.

Giron uses his background in both landscape architecture and art to contemplate how we can better relate to our environment. He focuses on marginalized spaces where our waste is spilling over into our ecosystem and creates art around it to help bring awareness to harmful human behaviors that we almost don’t even notice anymore..."



The Washington Diplomat

"Viewers Touch on Social Issues to Create Ripple Effect"

By Gail Sullivan

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art," presented in partnership with the Washington Project for the Arts, blurs the line between artistic gesture and civic engagement. The 10 featured artists address social issues that range from immigration and the environmental impact of illegal dumping, to the social stratification of Washington, D.C., and the ongoing struggle against violence in Mexico. But they do so by incorporating viewers as direct participants in the creation of their work. This outside-the-studio, exchange-based approach to creating art is known as "social practice," a trend in contemporary art that emphasizes collaboration and dialogue with the public.

Through their work, the artists create entry points for conversation that circumvent the "for/against" dynamic typical of public discourse on controversial social issues, introducing an alternate viewpoint that allows for thoughtful reflection.

Entering the exhibit, the eye is immediately drawn to what appears to be tiny gardens floating in mid-air. In terrariums suspended from the ceiling, artist Olivier Giron has created micro-ecosystems using discarded objects found at illegal dumping grounds. Viewing waste in that context suggests the possibility of renewal and encourages reflection on solutions to excessive consumption. The terrariums correlate to a public online map — managed by the volunteer environmental group Let's Do It VA! — on which Giron, who is based in Arlington, has geo-tagged photographs of illegal dumpsites throughout Virginia.


[Guest Lecture]

Visual Culture and Society class at George Mason University

New Century College

12pm, November 13th, 2012

Location: George Mason University, Robinson Hall, Room A 123, VA 22030


[Guest Lecture]

The Alice Ferguson Foundation's Potomac Watershed Trash Summit

"Creative Engagement: Expanding the Base"

10am, November 7th, 2012

Convening at: Silver Spring Civic Building One Veteran's Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910



The Washington Post: Museums

"Artists go beyond the gallery walls"

By Michael O'Sullivan

Friday, November 2, 2012

"In the heavily conceptual jungle of “The Ripple Effect,” the most purely beautiful art is made from garbage. Olivier Giron’s “Something out of Nothing” features a series of hanging, terrarium-like sculptures made from trash that the artist scavenged from illegal dump sites in Fairfax County. One features a pair of doll’s hands half-buried in the dirt in a position of supplication, along with an old shoe and a profusion of weeds.

Trained as a photographer, Giron uploads pictures of illegal dump sites to the environmentally activist Web site www.letsdoitvirginia.org. “The Ripple Effect” also includes video footage that the artist collected at the dump sites, using the kind of motion-activated surveillance cameras that hunters use. In the videos, Giron can be seen fabricating site-specific outdoor sculptures, using materials left behind by dumpers. In some, you also can see the reaction of the violators -- which ranges from curiosity to confusion -- when they stumble on Giron’s art.

According to Giron, his target audience isn’t museum visitors or environmentalists, but the people tossing the trash. Although he “signs” his work by leaving cards containing his contact information, Giron says he has yet to hear from anyone."



"The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art"

When | THU, 10/25/2012 - SUN, 01/13/2013

Where| Art Museum of the Americas | 201 18th St NW, Washington, D.C.

Artist Discussion | Sat., October 27 at 2p | Join Ripple Effect curator Raquel de Anda as well as a few of the artists from the exhibit for a discussion about the exhibit and possible social implications from art and art projects such as those seen in Ripple Effect


Curated by Raquel de Anda, Independent Curator
Presented in partnership with AMA | Art Museum of the Americas

Participating Artists: Annie Albagli (Gaithersburg, MD), The Aschoy Collective (La Paz, Bolivia), The Floating Lab Collective (Washington, DC), Ghana Think Tank (New York, NY), Olivier Giron (Arlington, VA), Miguel Luciano (Brooklyn, NY), Pedro Reyes (Mexico City, Mexico), Mark Strandquist (Richmond, VA), and Lina Vargas de la Hoz (Silver Spring, MD)

Presented by WPA, in partnership with AMA | Art Museum of the Americas, The Ripple Effect highlights social practice and collaborative works produced within the United States and Latin America. The exhibition reflects the growing interest among artists in engaging with members of diverse communities, prioritizing the creation of dialogue as an integral part of their artistic practice, and effecting change in their communities and the world at large. The Ripple Effect features artists whose work explores such issues as the environmental blight of illegal dumping, the social stratification of Washington, DC, and the ongoing fight against gun violence in Mexico. By bringing together artists based in the DC area and artists from across the Americas, the exhibition provides an opportunity for cultural exchange, reflecting the emphasis within contemporary art on both local and global relationships.



"Agendas: Concepts and Thematics in Sculpture’s Expanded Field—Community Engagement." 

When | MON, 9/10/2012 - FRI, 11/16/2012

Where| Brentwood Arts Exchange | 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood, MD 20722

Opening Reception, Saturday, September 22, 2012.


The Brentwood Arts Exchange in partnership with the Washington Sculptors Group (WSG) presents Agendas, an exhibition of contemporary sculpture by WSG members, juried by Teresa Bush of Howard University. 
Agendas uses sculptural form to address the relevance within our present day society of global forms and ideologies, such as cross cultural borrowing, the adaptation of pluralized artistic forms within postmodern discourse, and the experience of emergent populations within our communities. 

The Washington Sculptors Group is a non-profit corporation founded to promote awareness and understanding of sculpture and to foster the exchange of ideas among sculptors, collectors, and the general public. WSG, singly and in cooperation with other organizations, plans, manages and promotes important curated exhibitions in galleries, museums and alternative spaces in the Washington metropolitan area and beyond.


[T.V. Interview]

Voice of America

"Student Focuses Lens on Illegal Dumping" 

By Faiza Elmasry

May 1, 2012

Link to the Interview


[T.V. Interview]

ABC NewsChannel8

"George Mason student Olivier Giron tracks illegal dumping sites in Fairfax" 

By Kathy Park

February 15, 2012

Link to the Interview


[Newspaper Interview]

Washington Post: Local

"George Mason student maps illegal dump sites in Fairfax County" 

By Gregg MacDonald

February 15, 2012

Link to the Interview