Andrea Carlson

(Born 1979; Lives and works in Chicago, IL)

I just finished this Red Exit piece. It was reviewed in Hyperallergic and the reviewer had pointed out that one of the figures has this kind of animate shadow in it. I really like how she described that because I haven’t really played around with a lot of shadows for the objects I want in my work. It planted a little seed in the back of my mind and I’m already starting to cook up a bunch of ideas that play with shadows threading between the objects or figures in my work and the landscapes that they rest upon.

I know some artists really don’t want to talk about their process. I love listening to artists talk about how they’ve come to some of the decisions they’ve made. I’ve gone 180 degrees from where I was a few years ago. It’s where the magic is. I get inspired in talking to writers and how they develop a character that has a distinct personality from all the others and how they talk to each other. The older I get the more fascinated I am by thought processes and how people get to the decisions rather than the final product.

For me, drawing is the structure. It is where I start. It is the bones of anything I make. It has to start with drawing and then I build up. I put all the skin on those bones. You’re laying down material onto a very thirsty surface which is paper. It’s like skin. It’s an amazing surface to work on.

Being surrounded by George Morrison’s artwork growing up, going to all of his exhibitions and having catalogues of his work in my house, even though my work doesn’t look anything like his, that strong horizontal line of this endless seascape is in nearly everyone of my paintings. I can’t work the lake out of my art, this infinity lake landscape.

–Conversation on August 25, 2020

Listen to our conversation here:


Selected Image from the Collection:


Carlson, Andrea, First Generation, 2016, oil, acrylic, ink, color pencil, and graphite on paper, Overall: 22 x 60 in.