Artisans of Lincoln: Len Olson Goes Above and Beyond

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Leading a creative life is much different than one experienced by a non-creative type. Take for example the contraction, “Can’t.” A creative person doesn’t understand its meaning. They are not stalled by its negativity. Nor are they trumped by the difficulty, no, the necessity to overcome barriers.

Len Olson, Lincoln Master Digital Sculptor, doesn’t understand, “Can’t.” Always a lover of art, in the third grade, his teacher called home to inform his mom that a picture he’d entered in an art competition was not his. That a third grader could not have drawn it, when in fact, he had. At 13, he laid eyes on his first automotive clay model. So surprised and intrigued at the realization that people actually hand sculpt cars from clay, upon high school graduation, he enrolled in Detroit’s College for Creative Studies’ clay modeling course. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Beginning his career working in numerous job shops and cross-town rivals, in 1992 Olson became one of Ford’s modelers. Since then, he has transitioned from working with clay to the high-tech world of pixels and polygons, helping to pioneer Ford’s digital sculpting team with the use of advanced 3D software.

Olsen’s can-do attitude has drawn him to work on some of the most iconic Ford and Lincoln automobiles in recent history. When others were content with a lesser target, Olsen pushed for more. “I don’t understand ‘can’t’,” says Olsen. “It’s just a barrier for people who don’t want to try.  If you try, you have a better chance of it becoming possible.”

If you think something is okay and marginal, maybe you should rethink it, and do it again.

The all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ was Len Olsen’s latest project. His incredible attention to detail is evident in just about every surface and cut line of the vehicle. It’s a testament to what’s possible when you stop saying, “Can’t” and begin doing instead.

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