This month, Love From Berlin is starting a new segment interviewing some amazing artists and asking them what makes them tick.
This month we talked to Carly Berry, @itsnotthatweird, an artist from Florida who makes some awesomely quirky designs which she sells on her etsy store. She also works as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Carly’s designs range from her collection of “sexy veg” stickers, to screen printed tees, and even an “Adult Starter kit” book.
LFB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Carly: I’m Carly, an over-eager goof who makes things. I graduated from FSU with my BA degree in Studio Art with a focus in Printmaking. I’m part freelance graphic designer & illustrator, online shop owner (itsnothatweird.etsy.com – plug plug plug!), and exhibiting artist. I recently quit my 8-5 job with benefits to really hone my craft and work on things I’m passionate about – and I turned 25 and had a quarter-life “re-awakening”. I thought I would end up picking one main avenue to go with; design, retail, or exhibitions but right now I need all three to keep me sane. So far it has been the best experience of my life, even though it could go south at any turn. I live for being scrappy and working my ass off, so basically My Shot from Hamilton is my theme song at the moment. Other than art stuff I like to spend a lot of time outside with my partner and our pups.
LFB: What is the art community like where you are from?
Carly: I’m from Florida, so airbrushed vacay tees and Jimmy Buffett quotes on paintings of parrots are all the rage in most cities. But there are a few good pockets of art culture and I think Tallahassee is one of them. There are tons of independent galleries, there’s always an art show you can check out, and in the crevasses of the town you’ll find plenty of artists making their mark. It’s a college town so there’s lots of angst, and that makes for really great art.
LFB: How long have you been doing your illustrations and how did you get into it?
Carly: Art has been a best friend of mine since I can remember. I’ve always been drawing; most of my childhood consisted of making things and I just never stopped. I was pretty shy in school and it was my way to connect with people. Unfortunately, I didn’t take it seriously until college though. People need to stop saying artist only make money when they die – I can’t wait for that myth to go away.
LFB: What are the main inspirations for your art?
Carly: Like most artists will probably say, anything and everything inspires me. But I really get my jollies from quirks in people’s personalities, all things organically gooey, existential crises, and windbreaker swishy sounds in a silent moment.
LFB: What does your art mean to you? What impact do you want it to have on people?
Carly: My art has a healthy dose of sarcasm, it’s self-deprecating and playful with an anxious undertone. Pretty much how I would explain myself. I use humour in my art a lot and I feel like my art is successful when someone laughs at my pieces. It’s such a gut reaction and a raw emotion, what else is art for but to make people feel something? Also, with using humour you can slip in more serious topics and present them in a more relatable way. Like, the world sucks, we all know that. So take that and poke fun at it; I think by doing this you can create more depth in your work.
LFB: Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
Carly: Oh jeez I have so many favorites right now. Here’s some of them:
- Sally Nixon @sallustration
- Michelle Wanhala @mwanhala
- Matthew McCarron @mccarrica
- Bryn / Deer Jerk @deerjerk
- Lilly Friedeberg @elfriede_s
- Wies @sowiesowies
- Ben Haist @bhaist
- Pat Perry has always been one of my faves
- Joe Rudko
- And the greats: Ed Ruscha, Warhol, Dali
LFB: How has social media has impacted you as an artist? How do you use social media to grow and support your art?
Carly: Social media has made a huge impact on my art and career. I sell stuff mostly online; Instagram and Facebook are where I do all my marketing. It allows me to connect to other artists and create a community. I instantly get a sense of what people want to see more of and what needs a little more work, which is very useful as a self-employed person. I don’t have many people to bounce ideas off of in real life so I rely on my followers a little bit for that. I also get to curate a feed full of art I like and it just becomes an endless stream of inspiration and motivation. Also, your social media pages are like your room. It’s your little private space that you can choose to include whoever you want. Although the internet isn’t inherently private, since there’s so much out there it feels intimate in a way and I like that.
LFB: I’m loving your veggie sticker collection, but why sexy veg?
Carly: Thanks! I started doing a series of “sexy” characters about a year ago. It started with drawing Ben Franklin slapping his own ass and I was hooked after that. There’s a few things going on here; first of all, it’s kind of a punch line that just never gets old to me. Expressing sexuality is a part of a lot of people’s lives that most keep private, so thinking of Santa Claus twerking just makes me feel happy. It’s really characters just being comfortable in their own skin.
There’s also an element of sarcasm because what is being sexy anyway? The idea of traditional sexiness doesn’t hold up for me. There’s so much more to being sexually attractive than doing a strip tease, but it’s still hilarious and we all do really embarrassing things in front of the mirror to make ourselves feel confident. That’s what I am imagining when I create these; the potato is getting ready to go out on a Saturday night and just wants to admire it’s own butt for a little bit.
I chose to do a series of veggies in particular because I’m a vegan and it’s my really passive aggressive subtle way to say ‘hey, being vegan is sexy and you should eat your veggies!’
TLDR; It’s funny and vegans are sexy.
LFB: Do you have a favourite character/creature that you’ve created?
Carly: I don’t think I have a favourite, like a (dog) mom with her (dog) children, you just can’t choose. I remember one time lining up all my character pieces in a row. There were so many I had to wrap them around the room and I sat in the center of them all and it was the weirdest but warmest feeling. Like I created a little crazy mutant family. That might sound sad but it was really magical.
LFB: How do you see your art evolving in the future?
Carly: I feel like my art evolves so rapidly that I am sick of what I am making before I’m done with it, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m constantly revisiting old ideas, making new ones, throwing some concepts out, and holding on to some for too long. Currently, I want to do more interactive pieces and I have a series of light fixtures I’m just itching to make. I really want to work at transforming spaces and make my art an immersive experience. I also did a lot of book arts in college and I would like to get back into that. It is the perfect blend of art and design and even though It’s a niche medium, it’s where I feel like my art-freak flag flies.
I personally love all of Carly’s designs, especially the sexy veg (being a sexy vegan myself) and look forward to seeing those interactive pieces! If you’d like to find Carly online then you can find her on her website, etsy, facebook and instagram.
Photography and Artwork courtesy of Carly Berry