Caroline Larsen is an emerging Toronto-based artist. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts as well as the Fine Arts Memorial Award, she has been exhibiting in group and solo shows since 2010. She was recently awarded the 2012 Emerging Artist Grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
I was intrigued by Caroline’s paintings when I first saw them. They may appear to be woven textiles, but are actually created with oil paint. I asked her about her process.
The woven appearance of your paintings is so unique, what led you to come up with this technique?
I have always loved thick paintings and exploring new and interesting way to apply paint. I started playing around with squeezing paint in University and I started to explore tips used in decoration. It took about eight months, but I taught myself the woven technique. It’s a bit of a secret, but I can tell you it’s an optical illusion!
Your paintings must take a long time to completely dry, do they retain the smell of paint for some time?
They will smell for about a year or so, but you would have to get your nose right up to the painting! They do have strong smell for the first six months.
Many of your works feature cargo ships, some of them sinking or smouldering, but with vivid colours… what was the inspiration behind the theme?
My father lives in Panama for half of the year and when I visited him I also visited the Panama Canal, the ships are ablously massive, its was really overwhelming to see how huge these boats are, and everything comes on these boats! When a ship has an accident all of the cargo is left in the ocean and usually the ship is split in half and sunk to the bottom of the sea. I just became so fascinated cargo ship accidents!
I especially love your painting “Kiss Me Kate!” It seems to be a departure from most of your work, what led you to create it?
I had never painted people in the woven style, and I loved the photo so much that I had to make it! I really love that painting!
What is coming up for you?
Next up for me is a collaboration with Elly Green, founder and president of Clothing Brand Experiment. She has this amazing line of artist T shirts and mine is released on June 14th. I have a few projects lined up in the next few months and I am trying to spend more time in the studio. I don’t have any heat in my studio in the winter so I try and spend as much time in there during the summer months!
All images courtesy of Caroline Larsen