We had the good fortune of connecting with Carlene Frances and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carlene, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an art career because it’s what I do best and I have always been drawn to the visual arts even as a child. I like to think it choose me because it was something I HAD to do. I was compelled to create. Growing up dyslexic I struggled with reading and writing. One thing I did well was painting and drawing. It is my visual voice and it allows me to express my ideas and thoughts on canvas. A way of communication that I can achieve successfully. In my early years I tried to do the traditional white house, white picket fence and the 2.1 kids, living the American Dream but, something was always missing. I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. At the age of 41 I had an epiphany that it was time to fulfill my passion and do what I was meant to do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My artwork draws from Asian aesthics, a striving for serenity in a world inundated by input: conscious arts of eliminating the unnecessary so the necessary may speak. In my current series of work, Seijaku a Japanese word meaning tranquility in the midst of daily turmoil I suggest to the viewer that the journey to serenity can start with a break from routines of an active life. A move towards order, simplicity and balance. I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between order and chaos especially in today’s constant barrage of media and technology. The use of binary code in this series with its distortion and randomness is symbolic and relevant to what we are exposed to everyday. The paintings move from the busy chaotic distortion of the code to simplicity, balance and order suggesting it’s a journey that requires awareness to achieve serenity. My hope is that my work is approachable and makes the viewer think about their relationship with technology and encourages them to discover the calm pond at the heart of us. I have found that tenacity is one the greatest assets to achieving your creative goals. The art world is full of many talented artists so the competition is REAL to find an audience. There are many challenges along the way such as gallery representation, aesthetics and technical challenges, financial assistance and marketing methods. When I encounter a problem I reach out to successful individual and ask for critiques, advice and information along the way. I will never forget this advice from a successful artist who once said, “remember the art world won’t come knocking on your studio door you have to make it happen”. You can’t wait to be discovered you. It is up to you! What I have learned and I constantly reiterate to myself is, “know your intention by being clear on your vision, stay the course and trust the process, then let go of the outcome”. Go to your studio and work, work, work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My go to place would be the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum on day one. They are in close procimentiy and have great gifts shops and nice place to have hang out, have a cup of coffee and view amazing art. The Still’s Museum is one of the few places in the country that has a largest collection of his paintings. DAM usually has an exciting exhibit to enjoy and the Hamilton building itself designed by the Architect Liberskind is a must see. Denver has and large variety of great restaurants so I would try different ethnic cuisines every night from Mexican- Blue Agave Grill, Asian-Sushi Den or Cho Lon downtown, to Italian -Piatti’s, seafood- Bonefish Grill or Jax’s Fish House and Oyster Grill. I we would visit the Botanic Gardens their new indoor space with an amazing new gallery. The Christmas lights display is always spectacular depending on what time of year. Union Station is always fun with great restaurants. Lots of places to hang out in the newly renovated space. In the Summer the Farmers Market is amazing in front of the Station. It’s within walking distances to the local galleries, K Contempoaray, David Smith Gallery and Robischon Gallery in Lodo and a walk down 16th street mall would be in order. What would a visit to Colorado be without a visit to mountains. Skiing is always good in the winter and a drive to the top of mountain Evans is must for first timers.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There were many encouraging voices and lots of support along the way since starting my art career with a BFA at 45. I knew it would be challenging but, I stayed the course and never let go of my vision. I have great appreciation and gratitude to the many instructors at RMCAD, Clark Richert taught me concept and content which is very important to an artist’s work, Chuck Parsons whose passion inspired me and Bob Thomas my color guru were all very supportive. I always extend a huge note of gratitude to Michael Burnett owner and curator of Space Gallery who was willing to give me a opportunity to exhibit my work. I can never thank him enough…. He has been an amazing supporter of the artist community in Denver and we are so lucky to have him. Also, I have to mention Colleen Fanning an Art Advisor who is a wonderful asset for the Art Community and has supported me and others in so many ways. She loves artists and always has our back. Last but, not least Michael Paglia art critic of the Westword has reviewed, curated, juried and written about hundreds of exhibits over the years. He has opened door for many talented artists to be recognized. I am grateful to many for being so supportive.
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