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Art & Life with Carlson Hatton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlson Hatton.

Carlson, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I have been interested in making art since I was quite young. My parents ran a ceramics business in San Diego and I worked for them making molds slip casting and painting ceramic-ware. In order to afford art school, I moved to New York and was lucky enough to get accepted into the Cooper Union when it was still tuition-free. An exchange program at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam led to a much longer stay where I took part in both the Ateliers (postgraduate program) in Amsterdam and later to the south of Holland for to do a two year stay at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht on the Belgium border.

I’ve always been a painter but I had to go through years of mixed-media sculptural installations with a lot of video and animated elements to find my way back to painting. I think that heavy exploration of the digital realm and an extended stay away from Southern California and America has had a huge impact on the way that I approach art making and the layering of information and examination of cultural influence that populates my works.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’m primarily interested in making paintings and drawings but I think that my practice is largely influenced from editing video work. At some point, I got tired of all that I depended on to make video installations, but I still wanted that complexity within my work. The passage of time, multiple viewpoints, and the experiences, sources and interests that lurk behind all images.

As an artist, I sometimes feel that I have a hard time navigating the world because it’s visually too much to take in and I think that is very apparent through my compositions. My work reflects a deep interest in how popular culture and our shared visual lexicon seemingly become more densely impenetrable as time progresses. A recurring theme is our connection to the nature that surrounds us within an environment that we have collectively created. I explore this estranged relationship to a surrounding or encroaching nature as an ever-present beauty and threat.

Acrylic, silkscreen, collage aesthetics and a broad range of print inspired techniques to intertwine to create dense environments that are layered with form, and figuration and slip in and out of abstraction. My paintings celebrate the confusing, the mysteries of the mundane and the overwhelming psychedelia of everyday life.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
I think that the role of the artist is always an interesting mix of societal expectations of what past artists have represented and the day to day isolated and cerebral experience that the studio offers. I teach art at Santa Monica College and it seems that a portion of what I teach comes down to investigating what it means to be an artist and dispelling myths and stereotypes that go along with that title.

Soaking up influence is part of what it means to be an artist and reflecting upon the world that I live in plays a huge role. I like to think that I’m able to access pieces of the unconscious and can operate, through art, in a more intuitive way than I typically have access to. Sometimes when I look back upon older work I can see the influences of local and global events that made their way in without my permission.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I will have my fourth solo show at Patrick Painter Gallery at Bergamot coming up this September. I also will take part in a group show at Gallery Nouvelle Images in Den Haag later this summer. I will have a permanent public artwork that consists of ten, 20′ long murals at the Crenshaw and Slauson Station on the Metro Expo line that’s currently being constructed.

My website is always good to see a broad selection of work and I try to progress shots and more art studio related life on my Instagram account.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Viktoria Hwang, Paul Takizawa

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Emmanuelle Bourlier

    June 25, 2018 at 19:21

    Thank you for this succinct but profound interview of one of my favorite artists. Carlson’s work is complex, powerful and also simply beautiful. Wishing him every success and excited to see more of his exceptional talent.

  2. Angela Oblivion

    August 6, 2018 at 03:08

    Love the work. Wish it could tour nationally!

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