We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Carlson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I started doing 3D chalk art I never actually intended for it to become a business. I was just learning and having fun. One day a photographer friend and I shot a time lapse video of me creating a 3D chalk drawing in my garage and posted in on YouTube. Pretty quickly the video started getting lots of views. At this point I didn’t have a website or anything to link to. So I rushed to set up a website and create an email address for my artwork. As the video was viewed and shared by more and more people I started to receive emails about paid opportunities to create artwork. It was another year before I was confident that I could make a fulltime living from art. At that point I took the leap and left my job in order to pursue art fulltime.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I specialize in anamorphic 3D street art. This means that when viewed from one specific viewing point my artwork appears to pop off the street or plummet into the ground. I create a lot of artwork in public, at festivals or other large events, so I get to experience people’s reactions to my artwork. Sharing the excitement when someone sees 3D street art for the first time is one the best parts of my work. In order to get where I am today I have put in a lot of work, but also benefitted from a lot of help and luck along the way. Art can be a very personal thing, and sharing it with thousands of people can be intimidating. Learning to overcome the fear of failure has been very important in my artistic and professional development. That doesn’t mean I no longer have the fear of failure, just that I’m getting better at moving forward despite the fear.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When friends are in town I always try to get them into the mountains. Snowboarding or hiking depending on the time of year. Then take a trip down to RiNo to check out the amazing street art. The Denver Art Museum is also doing an amazing job of bringing in awesome traveling exhibits from artists like Monet and Rockwell. Then when it’s time to just chill out the Denver Botanic Gardens are a great place to relax and maybe do some life drawing of plants and architecture.
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?
I would like to thank all of my friends and family who have supported and encouraged me during my art journey. I would especially like to thank my wife who has been crucial in helping me overcome the obstacles and fear that come with starting a new business. Two of the most important learning resources for me on my journey to become a professional 3D chalk artist are the books “Sidewalk Canvas” by Julie Kirk-Purcell and “The Art of Chalk” by Tracy Lee Stum. Finally, I would like to thank the whole chalk art community around the US. I’ve met a lot of great people at chalk art festivals who have shared tips and techniques and have become great friends over the years.
all photos from Chris Carlson