‘This is My Brain Today’ by Carlos Olivas, Jr.

Artist continues his work in figurative and abstract art, amplified by his caregiver
Artwork by Carlos Olivas

Tell us about This Is My Brain Today and what it’s all about.  

This answer is prepared by Carlos Olivas, III, son and caregiver of the artist, Carlos Olivas, Jr. Every other answer is in Carlos’s words, as provided by his caregiver. 

My dad is a hero of sorts. Beyond being a husband to our late mom, a father, and a figure of love, he is a sculptor and two-dimensional artist, producing both figurative and abstract work. His forté is creating intricate, complex, and fluid designs that he sometimes transposes to kinetic sculptures revealing both his engineering skill and his command of highly diverse materials. This Is My Brain Today is a compilation of his work.  

“This is my brain today” are also poignant words Carlos often says as a man who is living his life with Alzheimer’s disease. As his caregiver and curator, I have found solace and purpose in bringing his creations to a wider audience. (Veteran Art Institute hosts an online gallery of my father’s work, and it’s on display at Artbeat Gallery and Studio, in Sacramento.) 

The medium of this project extends beyond the page—it’s a poignant exploration of the human spirit’s resilience in the face of cognitive challenges. This Is My Brain Today becomes a poignant reference, a touchstone for the audience to witness the ebb and flow of Carlos’s cognitive journey. It’s an invitation for audiences to delve into the richness of his mind and, in turn, discover the universality of the human experience. 

We also hope that this work will shine a light on artists who navigate through Alzheimer’s disease.


What about making art appeals to you?

I like my art, it makes me feel good. Drawing and music bring joy. I don’t feel different, just supported. When asked, I go places. Family surrounds me. Dementia is part of life, but love remains.

How has working on dementia-related art changed you?

No big change. I’m okay. Lines, colors, doodles fill my time. I entertain myself in simple things. I listen to jazz and dance in my chair while I get lost in my work.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

“It’s my brain” Whatever comes out I put on paper. It keeps me busy throughout my day. 
Find more from Carlos Olivas on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube.

What is a Spotlight?

The Dementia Arts Spotlight promotes visual and performing artists who are grappling with dementia through original work or innovative arts programs. The Spotlight—in a Q&A format where artists describe the details and significance of their work or program—connects each artist to the Dementia Spring community. Find examples of prior Dementia Arts Spotlights here. Know of an artist whose work should be Spotlighted? Send them this link!

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