CAROL LARSON, Textile Artist
Carol Larson weaves intricate story lines into her textile art. Some of them may be obvious, but more often than not some require deep focus. Carol’s work has won accolades near and far, and she has been a member of the Arts Guild for several years, also serving as a Director of the Board. She’s a busy woman. However, we pinned her down for a few minutes at the gallery.
When were you first drawn to art?
I have been dazzled by color my entire life. My first art experience was at age 5 writing my name in ruby red lipstick on the tile of my aunt’s bathroom. When she asked if I knew who did it, I said no, but I would help clean it up!
Learning to sew at age 11, I was immediately excited that I could construct anything I wanted, simply with needle and thread. My early art experiences were all within the lines, i.e. garment construction, paint by numbers sets, doing puzzles, and using wood carving tools. When I was a teen I took a Park & Rec art class pouring resin over anything that stood still long enough, which was very much outside the lines. I hated the toxicity but it really awakened me to creating from my own mind rather than following someone else’s design. After that I gravitated to designing wearable art, hand weaving and spinning, quilting and applying dye, wax and paint to cloth. I did not take a ‘serious’ art class though until my twenties.
Did you have a teacher that stands out?
One of my mentors in the surface design field greatly influenced my work by saying it was not so important that others could read the text, printed on my work, because I know what it says. That was quite enlightening as I had previous to that time, been forbidden by family to share an autobiographical narrative. Her words really gave me the permission I needed to find my own voice and speak out. Designing my Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work healed my long-repressed wounds and has gone on to impact many others who have seen the work in one of its five solo exhibits.
Do you teach classes?
I don’t but I have lectured extensively on the business of art, jurying, design inspiration and my own Tall Girl Series: A Body of Work.
What is your schedule of the day?
Most frequently I walk the dog or go to the gym first thing. Then I have breakfast and tackle whatever awaits me on the business end of art-making, i.e. exhibit submissions, marketing, blogging, board business, email etc. I usually go into the studio early afternoon and work until dinner, often doing handwork in the evening. I have made several attempts to get into the studio first thing in the morning but find if I don’t exercise early I talk myself out of it later on. I am blessed to be prolific when I do make art though. I am currently engrossed in a collaborative project where I am designing 25 large pieces in three years time, so now I am a bit more disciplined than usual.
Do you listen to music or other media?
I listen to primarily music in the studio….Pink Martini, Leonard Cohen, Latin jazz, Zydeco, new age, big band, bluegrass and classical all appeal to me. I really love music!
What do people not know about you?
Most people don’t know that I am a visual learner. In order to learn anything my hands have to be busy or I completely zone out. In fact I frequently play mahjong on the computer while on a phone call.
Where would someone never find you? Trick question – where would you hate to be?
So many choices…hosting a garage sale, a gun show, a reptile show, picking cotton, walking the mall, a heavy metal or rap concert, a political convention and Walmart.
What do you feel is the future of art – of all kinds?
Karnak says… I think humans will always make art as a form of self-expression and for sane or insane reasons. I just don’t know that there will continue to be a viable market for original fine art, when the Internet makes it so easy to appropriate images. I do love however the proliferation of public art as it entices the masses to consider art in their daily life. Public art provides a distraction, an excuse to feel playful, curious and just chill. The world needs more color & art simply as a counterbalance to reality, which is not often pretty. I love looking at public art particularly in airports. It’s as if someone is saying… have a helping of fun and imagination while you wait for your thrice-delayed flight. Tasty.