Carson Carroll | Issue Nine Interview


Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work

I am an interdisciplinary artist with a background in photography, and a recently found appreciation for repurposed plastic and a longing to be immersed in a space. My style and practice is continually evolving as I experiment with a variety of mediums, subject matter, and techniques of creating. But at the current moment one can find me in the studio documenting pieces of litter, scanning words of advice written on vintage postcards, and sewing large pieces of plastic together.

I grew up in the Lowcountry of South Carolina but went inland to earn my BFA from Winthrop University, and now reside on the border of the Carolinas. I come from a family of seven with four younger brothers, meaning my childhood was loud, loving, and chaotic. During my childhood I was lucky to learn about the importance of both family and connection, which can be found as influences in my work. Up until I went to college, I lived on the coast and I learned early on about the power of the ocean and our choices in regards to the environment. Both of which encouraged my most influential work, TIDES UP.

What potential do you feel artists have to help bring about change?

What I admire most about art, is the unlimited amount of choices an artist has available to make. Every time an artist picks up a pen, a brush, a roll of film, a piece of clay, a line of thread, and/or their own hands, they have an infinite amount of potential to bring about change. However, it is their choice on how much, or how little, and in what context the change occurs.

Tell us about the themes you purse in your work?

My work presented in Extinction deals with themes of environmental awareness and human impact, but in my other work one can find themes of memory, self-healing, and transition. Although I find my creative practice often shifting and covering a range of themes, underneath the constant change is the foundation of connection. I continually question how myself, the viewers, the subject, the material, the process and the space are all connected with one another. And while all of the previous aspects might change from one project to another, there is a thin thread that leads to connect them all together.

What art do you most identify with?

Despite my background being in photography, recently I have found myself identifying more with interactive installation art more than anything else. I I love being fully immersed in a space and being able to experience art with my whole being.

Is there something you couldn’t live without in your studio? What is your most essential tool?

I could not live without my sketchbooks. I always have a few lying around in my studio, in various bags, and in my car. My thoughts are constantly racing and in order to keep a hold of ideas and to calm my head I use sketchbooks. Doesn’t matter what I use to write in it as long as I have one at my side. Sketchbooks are my main source of organization during a project, but really anything that will allow me to capture and/or work through an idea such as the notes section in my phone, a napkin at lunch, and/or the ears of a fellow artist or friend is an essential tool for me. I am continually working with different subject matter and materials, so being able to create an archive of thoughts regarding a project, is key.

What place do you think artists have in the political sphere?

If artists choose to put themselves in the political sphere, then it is their job to both ignite and continue conversation surrounding issues brought up in that sphere.

What do you feel the role of artist and photographers is in society?

I think artist and photographers’ role in society is simply to respond. To respond to what is around them, respond to how the world makes them feel, respond to other people, and so on. In what way they respond and who they share their responses with, is up to the artist. A favorable aspect about being an artist is the ability to create dialogue. And while I think artists have an unlimited amount of choices when it comes to creating, I do hope they will choose to respond to the world around them in a way that will generate conversation.

Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?

I am working on a continuation of my coastal pollution project, but this time the litter comes from the state mandated walking/hiking/running/biking trails in the area where I currently live. With the new segment of this project I hope I will not only be able to continue to bring awareness to environmental issues, but that I will also be able to evolve the research and making process that I established when I created my work from the coast.

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