Kathryn Carlson

Lives in: Fallon, Nevada
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Describe your art in three words: Odd. Realism. Inspired.
See More Work: www.kathryncarlson.com

Self Portrait - Oil 24 x 36 in. NFS

"My work approaches contemporary subjects while remaining rooted in methods of realism."

What themes does your work involve?
Lately, I have been focusing on drawing as my medium and I'll be exploring subjects that express some of the deeper workings of my mind, however odd they may be. Moving beyond fear and focusing on more abstract concepts from my heart, is where it's at for me right now.
Describe your creative process.
In recent years, I have drifted away from pursuing the truest imagery that materializes spontaneously for me. It can happen when I see or hear or feel something that grabs my attention. The random visualization of what to create has been an integral part of my process since I was a young teen. Once I have the direction, I gather reference and work out the composition with preliminary sketches or digital editing. If I'm drawing, I'll start placing shapes on the paper with a hard lead. It's easier to erase than softer, darker leads. When I start a painting, I either ""sketch"" the layout on canvas with a thinned paint, or I do an oil transfer of the drawing. Knowing a piece is done is a sudden event for me. I don't really know until I get a metaphorical slap in the face to stop.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Wow, there are so many things that influence me. It's really anything, big or small, that can illicit an emotional response out of me. If that reaction is strong enough, I'll need to get it out somehow, that's really my greatest inspiration.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?

My hope is that 2023 will be the most creative and productive year for me in a while. 2022 was a debilitating year full of chronic pain where I could no longer sit up long enough to draw or paint. It took a year for me to find treatment to lessen the pain, and deal with being newly disabled. I fell into a deep depression, but have recently emerged from it to find a way to create again within my limitations.
I'm excited to see where I go from here.

How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
My knee-jerk reaction to AI art was very negative. I found it a bit insulting that there was a way to create in a matter a seconds what I've trained and studied for years. I've since had time to think about it and I'd have to say I can see arguments for and against it. As an artist, I don't feel it is right for whole pieces of artwork to be used without permission. The argument for is that it's not identical, therefore it doesn't infringe on copyright. I've read that proponents of AI art believe that the art it learns from takes "inspiration" from the works. While learning to draw and paint, I did do master copies of art. I have also taken inspiration from other works of art. At this time, there is just too much grey area for me to have a definitive stance on it.
What is the role of the artist today?
I think the role of an artist is more important now than ever. During the pandemic, I believe that people turned to all forms of art, from writing to music to fine arts, to entertain and touch their souls in such a traumatic time. Now in its aftermath, I wonder if busy schedules and stress will take people away from those comforts again. Artists create tactile representations of the intangible. Humans are emotional, but sometimes society tamps that down in us. I believe it is the artist's role to remind us of our humanity.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I believe that the greatest works of art weave together elements of allure, substance and artistry in order to illicit deeper emotional responses from the viewer. One of my greatest fascinations with art is its subjectivity. Everyone has their own ideal of beauty and what is pleasurable to them, so successful art can be as diverse as people themselves.
Eorche Man - Graphite 9 x 12 in. NFS
Death of Marat - Oil 24 x 24 in. NFS
Eorche Woman - Graphite 9 x 12 in. NFS
Fleur - Graphite 14 x 17 in. $360


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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