"For me, the act of doing the art is the only thing that matters."
Carson is a self-described people watcher. He paints figures with a soft, sophisticated touch. He paints figures with a soft, sophisticated touch. His works summon a pensive, ethereal feeling in the viewer. His subjects seem absorbed in a world of contemplation and inward thinking. Working loosely and spontaneously, Michael Carson makes every brushstroke count.
Words by Bonner David Gallery
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF ART?
I actually remember drawing pictures of muppet creatures that I made up as early as age 5 or 6. That sounds impossible, but I definitely have dated images in a scrap book going back to age 4.
WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BE AN ARTIST?
My mom was my first inspiration. Whether I realized it or not. She was a very creative person and a great interior designer. I remember being a kid and getting to play on her drafting table with all her tools and templates. I'd say I have many floor plans and treehouse designs as I have early artwork. But she was a great draftsman and I loved the perspective interior drawings and color studies she created. I still draw on that very table today. Thanks mom.
TELL US WHAT YOUR ART IS ABOUT?
Well, for a long time, I don't think I really knew what my art was about. I was always told in art school that it had to be so conceptual and symbolize some internal struggle or some crap like that. That's just not me through. I realized that for me, the act of doing the art is the only thing that matters. Not trying to over analyze the image in front of me after the fact. The actual act of physically doing it is where I'm truly in the moment. The mechanics of my physical body that make my stoke unique from anyone else. The satisfaction or starting with a blank canvas and losing track of time and having a finished piece in front of me. Everything else is the outside the studio that deals with marketing and business. Also important as an artist but far less fun that the doing. The subject matter has almost always been the figure. I never get bored painting a person. Too many subtleties and variations to explore. Both with expression and pose but also brush stroke, tools, and approach. I've always been a people watcher. It was an easy decision.
WHO WERE SOME ARTISTS THAT INFLUENCED YOUR WORK AND YOU ADMIRE?
When I decided on trying painting. I initially found Van Gogh. I loved his story of course. The tortured artist who couldn't be understood by his peers but was ahead of his time. Eventually I ended up reading almost every correspondence that was available on the official website. Almost 900 letters I think. I fell in love with the paint. The texture. The movement and the lines. I gravitate towards figurative artists and love the period at the turn of the century. A great mix of new and old then. Currently I’m mainly looking at
contemporary artists. There are so many great craftsman and designers painting right now and it's all inspiring. Alex Kanevsky, Hollis Dunlap are a couple artist that completely frustrate me. Which is exactly what I’m looking for.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR STYLE?
Developing a style is hard. I had to copy many artist just to learn how to paint and then figure out how to force myself to different. But, it doesn’t work. The actually way to develop a style is to sit in a room and work for a few years. Maybe more. And then you have to challenge yourself. Experiment. Do something else that takes your mind off art so you have fresh eyes and a new lane of thinking. It's work. Best job I've ever had.
IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANY ARTIST DEAD OR ALIVE WHO WOULD IT BE?
If I were to collaborate with any artist, I'd have Prince sit in the corner of my studio and play me acoustic versions of his songs all night. It’s the most selfish of collaborations but much easier than sharing canvas space with another artist.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR ART?
Nothing. I just want to create. That is everything
WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU SAW THAT REALLY INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE?
I recently watched an artist paint on Instagram live. For some reason it opened up a foggy idea I’ve been thinking about for a long time. But became so obvious right then. That happens so rarely that I drop everything and immediately start working. Its an exciting time in the studio. And I don’t take it for granted because you can have so much down time in a studio. Inspiration is like serotonin. It comes in spurts but there will always be a balance.
WE ARE GIVING YOU AN OPEN PLATFORM, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL THE PEOPLE OUT THERE?
I have nothing profound to say. Life is short. If you can, do something you like.