We had the good fortune of connecting with Carolyn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carolyn, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from the suburbs of Chicago and the youngest of six children. Having grown up in an Italian / Catholic home…our house was the house that everyone came to, everyday …aunts, uncles, cousins and such. Since I was the youngest I was the only one who had their own bedroom. To escape the fun chaos in our household, I would escape to my bedroom where I would draw and color and color some more.
I believe this allowed me to grow and develop as an artist as for me color was a way of expressing myself and I enjoyed how I could be in my own little world. I loved creating and exploring with lines and color.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Since I was a little girl I fell in love with color and not too surprisingly its color that I’m known for in my work. I constantly see my paintings and often dream of them even before I attempt to create them on wood or canvas. Some people don’t understand abstract art, and that’s ok, but for me it’s the only way I know to fully express myself in a way that tells my story – that allows me to be seen and then not really seen…it’s a curious dance that gets played out even within myself. As such, I think it’s a big challenge for people to “see” my work. Most of us want to have instant gratification and well my art doesn’t provide that. It asks a person to stop, be with themselves for a moment and to feel where the art carries them. It’s been my experience that that makes most be uncomfortable. However, it brings such enormous joy when someone is will to take part in my pieces that way and the wonderful thoughts or feelings that it brings them. I have no interest in carrying a person along my journey with my art…I want them to experience their own journey.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I try to stay away from the typical tourist attractions here; Hollywood, Disneyland and such. One of the most beautiful things about Southern California is the beach – so whether it’s here in Santa Monica walking along the boardwalk or heading down to Huntington Dog beach with my pups, I find most people love looking at and being at the ocean. If their in the mood for a “culture” then of course I would take them LACMA and if they want a spectacular view then we would go to the Getty Museum. I love most types of food, but my favorite is either cooking Italian for someone or going out for Sushi or Thai food. I also love going to Casa Del Mar and sitting in the bar, having drinks and watching the sunset along the ocean from the dining room.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Well first off, my mentor Georgia O’Keeffe who continues to inspire me even 30 decades later after first coming to know her. Not only do her paintings deeply touch my soul – she’s the first artist whose work I ever saw where I thought to myself “Finally someone is painting like I see my paintings.” She, her work and how she lived her life encourages me to this day. There have been many people who have encouraged me throughout my life, starting with my mother – who always had such praise for me and would marvel at how I could “draw a straight line” since she never could. Even though she’s been gone for 35 years, it’s her belief in me that I carry to this day. And there was my art teacher and boss, Peter Alexander who just passed last year. I worked for Peter at the same time he became one of my teachers and together he taught me more about art, the questions that needed to be asked and how to find the answer, better than anyone. Finally it is my friend, Jennifer Cunningham who not only recommended me for this interview, but who as an artist herself continues to encourage me, enlighten me and gives me tremendous support.