Growing up in a suburb just outside of Chicago, Carolyn Emole gained experiences and lessons seen in her art today, with multiple layers highlighting aspects of her unique experience. Carolyn describes her work as ethereal, mystical and emotional. In her paintings, whether on wood, paper or canvas, she uses layers of translucent oil paint to create what some refer to as atmospheric environments, playing with color and gesture. The black and white charcoal flowers in her paintings are reminiscent of the black and white winters in the city, juxtaposed along with the warm rich tones of summer and autumn.
In Los Angeles, Carolyn attended the Santa Monica College of Design, Art & Architecture. There she studied with such nationally recognized artist’s as Peter Alexander, Laddie John Dill, George Herms, Debra Sussman and more. She then set off to explore the European lands of the masters, which expanded her voice and enriched her abstract forms. Carolyn now lives in Austin, TX where she continues to gain inspiration from her surroundings and her life.
Growing up as the youngest of six, Carolyn found solace in coloring and painting alone in her room, and listening to jazz music. Her father was a professional saxophone player and jazz music continues to be a great consolation for her when she works. In addition to music, Carolyn gives full credit to some of her influences from other artists, mainly Georgia O’Keeffe and Mark Rothko, which her work is reminiscent of, yet lighter and unique to her.
Carolyn will attest that as an abstract artist there are some misconceptions about her work. Some people assume it symbolizes the female & male body parts, and that abstract work is either shallow or easy – and Carolyn couldn’t disagree more. The one thing she would like her collectors to know about her art is that there’s much more to each piece than meets the eye and that her work comes from her emotions and not the human figure.
The highlight of her work is highly personal as she states, “My work is first and foremost about emotions. Emotions that are reflective of a time, a place, and/or a person. Of things gained and things lost. Color is the spark of the progression. Dreams filled with movement and visions of layers and forms. They all play themselves out to me. And when I embrace the canvas – these things are alive in me. The journey begins, into the future, into the past, yet they all breathe in the now.”
When asked about her advice that she would give to young artists just starting out now, she says, “You should learn everything you possibly can; to study, to read, to listen and ask questions. Then go lock yourself in a room and forget everything you’ve learned and just create and find your voice.” I think that is good advice. The debate over whether to get an MFA degree is one that won’t be solved anytime soon, and you’ll probably hear many different opinions on that question, but Carolyn does not believe it is necessary if what you really want to do is to sell your work and exhibit.
If there is one thing she wishes she had known in art school that she knows now, is not to listen to the skeptics and to continue to work, to create and surround herself with other artists. Carolyn’s goal as an artist is not much different from thousands of other artists, which is to be able to support her-self creating her work and to have at least one piece in a museum.
Carolyn’s work can be seen in hotels, corporations and private residences here in the US and abroad.