Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Olani moved to American Fork with his parents in 1940. His young interest in art was fostered by Professor Glen Turner of BYU who taught art classes in American Fork as part of a community youth program. In high school he studied art under Evan Nelson.
Despite encouragement to pursue art in college, Olani chose to become a civil engineer and earned both bachelors and masters degrees at Brigham Young University. In 1965, he and his wife Gayle and two small children moved to Seattle, Washington, where Olani took a position with The Boeing Aircraft Company. He subsequently earned a doctorate in engineering and in 1970, while working for Hercules, Inc. in Magna, Utah, Brigham Young University invited him to join their faculty.
As a professor of civil engineering, Olani’s service included 10 years as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology and 2 years as Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In 1994 he was appointed vice president of BYU-Hawaii. While in Hawaii, Gayle encouraged him to do something serious about his artistic interests and he began sketching with colored pencils.
The Durrants returned to BYU-Provo in 2000, and Olani enrolled in oil painting classes—a 65 year old among freshmen! Following retirement, he continued to study oil painting with local artists, Steve Parsons and David Dean.
Olani and Gayle lived in American Fork most of their lives and have been active in church and civic affairs. They currently reside in Pleasant Grove where Olani serves on the city’s architectural design review board.
Information about having your art displayed in the Library Balcony Gallery