We had the good fortune of connecting with Carole Choucair Oueijan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carole, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
As a visual artist, I am constantly inspired by other artists. Their ideas, their imaginations, their passion for creating something the world hasn’t seen before. When I go to a museum and get to see other artists creating from that inspired place, with their own mediums, it makes me excited to take on a new project and explore more creatively with my own art. I also love contemporary architecture. Walking into a beautifully designed building is truly being immersed in art. It moves me because even if I am working on a commission for someone else, and not a personal piece of art, I am able to take that motivation and create something new.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a visual fine artist by trade. I work mostly with mosaics in both the Direct and Byzantine Indirect techniques, but I also love to work with watercolor, oil, and mixed media. I think what sets me apart from other visual and mosaic artists are the techniques I use, People have said that I paint with glass because my mosaic work looks like a painting. I am humbled by that praise. I have had the great privilege of being invited over the last six years to travel the globe and teach these styles through workshops to other artists. Something I am proud of is my public art. These projects are usually awarded through a competition, so to have won these and have my artwork in public places where the community can experience them has connected me to so many new people, their stories, and the history of these places. It wasn’t easy though, when my kids were young it was so hard to concentrate. It took until around my 40s for my art to be recognized. I decided to create a larger collection of my work, and that’s when I started to get commissions. Thinking back on this makes me really grateful. It’s important that I never stop learning lessons as a fine artist. I like to find new mediums to work with, so I learn a new lesson every time I step into my studio. I experiment everyday. The best thing to remember is that it’s important to always be yourself when you’re making artwork, to keep playing with your style, and to keep creating.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The most important place to go is inside the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn Memorial Park to see both The Birth of Liberty (1964) and The Lincoln Terrace (1972) mosaics by Ferrari & Bacci Manrico Bertellotti. The next place I would take them is the Disney Concert Hall, but you have to go up to the terrace on the second floor, to see Frank Gehry’s mosaic fountain, “A Rose for Lily,” in the Blue Ribbon Garden. Which is great because close by are: Grand Park, The Music Center, and The Broad. Of course, after the beautiful museums and going down the road to The Getty Center and Getty Villa, we would need to see the gorgeous beaches of the Pacific Ocean for a classic LA sunset.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to shoutout my entire family who has been there for every reveal of my artwork, encouraged me to keep creating, and been there to help me whenever I need them. I would also like to shoutout SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) for always advocating that mosaic work is a fine art. They encourage and support so many mosaic and fine artists. Thank you. And finally, my dad who encouraged me and taught me to love art as much as he did.
Carole Choucair Oueijan