“Follow Friday” Interview with the one and only Carlista Martin.
DD: How would you define your style?
CM: Here is a list of words that I, or others close to me, have used to describe my style:
Psychological or therapeutic
Grotesque or fucked-up
Anal-retentive or intricate
An endless stream of consciousness
DD: How long have you been creating art for? How has your style evolved since you first began?
CM: I started when I was two or three years old, drawing these bird people. I would make a drawing of myself or my parents, except we were all birds. I was kind of obsessed with animals, and eventually I learned to draw other critters, like dogs and lions and pigs. When I learned to write, I would make up poems or stories and illustrate them. A lot of them are really funny, and I want to do a series now, where I re-illustrate those poems.
By late middle school, there was a dramatic shift and I was going for shock value. I started drawing the scariest, most upsetting scenarios I could think of. Torture machines for people I hated, babies with their eyes gouged out, massacres. I guess it was more so a stress-relieving exercise than art.
That lasted through most of high school, until it became more internal. Every character I drew was somehow a facet of myself, or someone I knew. I try to make emotional art. Now it’s like an ongoing documentary of my life and experiences, and that’s the way I think art should be.
I’m also constantly experimenting with different mediums and styles, and trying to improve my technique and life-drawing skills. Kind of cliché, but I wont feel like a true artist until I can draw people as they are.
DD: Were you formally trained in art or are you self taught? Do you think it has helped you or hindered you?
CM: I’m self-taught for the most part, but of course I have to credit my parents. They’re both artists, and probably I wouldn’t have kept it up all my life if it weren’t in the family.
Right now I feel hindered. Everyone I know in art school is making connections and getting into shows, and I’m starting to wonder how I’m ever going to get my foot in the door. I want desperately to go to art school. I want to grow as an artist, and it’s difficult to find time when I’m already a full time English student. Two years of college and I still haven’t taken a single art class. Such regrets. I plan on applying to VCUarts and MICA, before it’s too late, I hope.
DD: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
CM: Either an artist, princess, a power ranger, tiger bride, a Lisa Frank bunny ballerina, geologist, my mom, actress, Robin Hood, or writer.
DD: How do you deal with creator’s block?
CM: I rarely get creator’s block, because it’s so hard to find the time to create that when I get the chance it’s nearly orgasmic. When you have a million other responsibilities and obligations, you always wish you were making art instead. So I guess my advice would be, find something else to do. Before you know it you’ll be dying to get back to your art.
DD: Aside from art, what do you do with your time? Is there anything else that you are passionate about?
CM: I spend 80% of my waking life these days reading, writing, and researching for my classes. I’m majoring in English, Art History and Gender and Sexuality…simultaneously. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
Aside from that I watch or make movies with my boyfriend (not the kind you’re thinking of, he’s a film student). We like David Lynch, Sofia Coppola, Kubrick, Lars Von Trier, etc. I’m also illustrating and working on a local queer zine, and attending a smattering of protests.
I read. I like Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Aphra Behn, Bukowski, Sedaris, Toni Morrison, and I’m getting into Tom Robbins.
I write poems on my computer and delete them before someone finds them.
I also like 3am conversations with my roommates, jam sessions, genderqueer people, shopping in the forest, and freakfolk.
DD: Do you think that the internet is helping or destroying the art world?
I can’t imagine getting as much exposure without it, and I wouldn’t have sold any artwork thus far.
Of course it’s easy to steal and use work without credit, but honestly I haven’t been worried about it. People will rip off of you whether they see your art on tumblr or in a gallery, so why worry? You have to take your chances.
DD: What has been your worst experience with art?
CM: A grab bag of self-doubt and insecurity, wanting to pursue a career but being discouraged, making utter crap, not having the time or means to make what I want to make.
DD: What has been your best experience with art?
CM: People who approach me and ask to work with me. I love collaborations! My roommates and I make movies all the time, and I love those rare days when we all just sit in the living room and draw or paint.
DD: What does your work space look like?
CM: I share a room, a desk, and a computer. It’s cluttered, to say the least. Hopefully next year we’ll live in an art factory with enough room for a second desk.
DD: Is there any advice you would like to pass on to other artists?
CM: Only listen to the people who support you, and ignore the ones who tell you to find something else to do. Otherwise you will feel like shit.