Artist Olivia Rose James emerged as a muralist dedicated to public art

Olivia Rose James fell in love with Newport.

Well, he first fell inlove with Ben O’Connor, then they both fell in love with Newport. O’Connor is a famous local musician, and James is a professional actor. His first mural decorated the bright interior of Kaffeology on Thames Street.

The mural spreads on an interior wall of the cafe, a colorful array of plants and birds he designed while he and O’Connor were living in the Virgin Islands for a stint before they returned to Newport. She said she drew inspiration from the tropical scenery right outside her front door.

James went to school for graphic design, but found himself calling as a muralist after responding to Kaffeology’s advertisement on Instagram in search of an artist to paint its walls. She primarily uses her Instagram account (@olivia.rose.james) to showcase her art and connect with new clients.

Olivia Rose James of Newport, RI poses for a photo under the mural she painted at the unveil of the mural at Hingham Shipyard on Friday, June 24, 2022. The historical mural depicts the first ship launched in Hingham Shipyard, the DE- 51 Buckley, and a siren.

James explained that while he grew up near Morristown, New Jersey, he moved to New York City after graduating college and was looking for a place to feel like home.

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He met O’Connor-a graduate of Middletown High School-when they were in New York before the couple fled to City-by-the-Sea. Now he is part of this community, and he is part of the life of anyone who enters Kaffeology or Spalon and admires the paintings on the walls.