We recently connected with Judith Carlin and have shared our conversation below.
Judith, appreciate you joining us today. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative or artistic career? When did you first know?
Growing up I was fascinated by human behavior and everything that was going on around me. At a young age I was constantly sketching but I also wanted to be with people, so I started acting because I adored exploring the human condition through stories. Soon I realized that I needed to express my own ideas and observations so I expanded into playwriting and directing.
When my mother developed Alzheimer’s Disease, I stepped back from my career to take care of her for seventeen years. My mother had been a painter and my childhood was spent going to mother/child drawing classes because she still had that need and I loved it. After my mother died, I wanted something I could do completely by myself from beginning to end. Painting started pulling me even though I had only sketched and never painted. But I wasn’t sure I could express what I wanted to say in a painting. My mother died in August of 2006 and I enrolled as a full-time student in painting at The Art Students League of New York that September. Everything I’d ever done up to that point in acting, writing, directing, sketching came together on the canvas. I now feel like I’m writing with paint.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I currently live and work in Miami. My mediums are oil, acrylic and freehand digital. My work is not as commercial as many other artists in that my paintings are narrative and humanistic and have to do with social issues and problems in the world. Not everyone wants that hanging over their sofa. But what I am proud of is that I’m bringing light to certain issues and sparking a conversation. People have come up to me and have written to me about how my work has affected them. One woman, who was in an abusive situation, saw one of my paintings about a beaten-up woman waiting at a bus stop with her bags and said it gave her the courage to go seek help. This is more meaningful to me than being commercially successful. Not that I see anything wrong with that and I greatly appreciate my collectors.
There have also been instances where people have complained to galleries about my paintings hanging there. These are usually people with wildly different worldviews than mine and I’m actually happy my humanistic paintings have made them uncomfortable. Maybe they’ll start thinking about why they’re threatened by a painting.
Other than collectors my paintings usually appeal to non-profits, magazines concerning certain issues, commercial websites, again concerning certain issues and museums.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on NFTs. (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice)
I recently dipped my toes in the NFT world. I don’t quite understand it but I’ve found a welcoming community. Whether it’s here to stay I don’t know. Having said that, I feel it’s terrific for artists as it’s another way to get our work out there. What I find interesting about NFTs is that when an NFT sells, if it is then resold the artist gets a 10% royalty. This doesn’t happen in the traditional art world but I think it should. Also, the artist still has possession of their actual painting and the print rights. Of course, the artist can either give or sell the painting to their NFT collector if they so desire.
Artists have too long been dependent on galleries to let people know about their work. Social Media has changed that a bit, but I feel NFTs are taking it to the next level. Also, I feel that there is a digital revolution going on in the art world and NFTs are an easy way to be a part of it. People and artists have to constantly evolve.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I guess what I learned is it’s important to run the right race and find the right people to help you.. One doesn’t have to be like everyone else as an artist. It’s important to find the right teachers. One that will help you develop your own unique style.
Early in my training I had a figure painting teacher who was very rigid. He basically wanted the students to paint exactly like him. One morning I went into class and thought how nice, the monitor took down my painting from the drying racks and put it on my easel. I then realized it was my neighbor’s painting and not mine. They looked almost identical. I left the class and never came back.
When I first started in a different teacher’s studio we were all painting a model with a red heart on her sweater. The teacher announced, as he went around the class advising the students, that we don’t have to paint the heart red. As he approached my area, one student called out that he was going to make the heart pink, another called out that she was going to paint the heart blue. I then said I was going to paint a broken heart. He looked at me and said “You can stay.” I knew I had found the right teacher for me. That teacher was Kenneth McIndoe and I stayed with him for ten years.
- Website: https://www.judithcarlin.com/
- Instagram: @judith_carlin
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/judith.carlin.9/
- Twitter: @judithcarlin
Profile Picture by Roy E. Lowrance