I’m just a guy; a kid from Chicago who grew up tapping on anything that would make a sound, discovering that I am passionate about helping other people become the best version of themselves, and unearthing a way to do both while traveling and performing around the globe.
I’m Artis J. Olds (Artis The Artist) and I’m a body percussionist.
While earning my Bachelor of Arts from Central State University, I served as the marching band’s Head Drum Major. In the mid 2000’s I lead The Invincible Marching Marauders to the Honda Battle of the Bands, and appeared on the DVD cover of the long running event’s documentary, “Stompin’ at the Dome.” In different capacities, I’ve been fortunate to work with Grammy Award-winning artists, Alessia Cara, Kanye West, John Legend and The Roots, as well as award-winning comedian, Dave Chappelle.
As a member of the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, I began to hone my craft as a body percussionist; competing in, and winning first prize in over 50 step shows. Some of the most noteworthy wins include: back to back National Step Show titles awarded by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Spring Bling (BET), and back to back titles won in America’s largest step show competition,The Sprite Step-Off (MTV).
In 2012 I left my job at a Fortune 500 company to join the cast of the world’s first professional dance company dedicated to stepping, Step Afrika!. Hailed as “Always visually and musically exciting” by The Washington Post, Step Afrika! is dear to my heart and gave me my first opportunity to be a full time artist. Since then, I’ve taught, spoken, and performed in over 25 countries, choreographed and directed work for The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, developed and delivered artistically driven leadership programming for Pre-K through University students across the country, been invited to perform for The Obamas at White House, is currently on the Broadway tour of the international percussion sensation, STOMP, and is the featured teaching artist in a virtual interactive stepping exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (Washington, DC).
So, who is Artis The Artist?
I'm just a kid from Chicago.
College Graduate. Corporate Dropout. Chaser of Dreams.
A warrior with stamina and a sharp sense of detail.
Precise and determined, the leader of the group.
Like his namesake, musical and laconic.