Hey, Carl!: “Treating the brands that I work with as art pieces, is essential.”


“A series highlighting artists on their past, present, and future.”

Hey, Carl!: Graphic Designer + Branding Strategist

When did you begin to take an interest in art?

Since I can remember. It sounds super cheesy but I believe I was born with it in my DNA, like, I need it. I can’t remember a day where I wouldn’t get lost in some form of creative thinking/daydreaming, expression, or enjoying getting lost in music. It wasn’t until after therapy I had a realization that art was a large form of coping and personal therapy, lolol.

Who influenced you at a young age?

I’m not sure I know of a single person that influenced me in terms of art, but my parents did a wonderful job helping foster my creative/art interest. My grandma Billie is an artist and part of me believes that it’s passed down from that side of the family. I’m excited to see what creative avenues my girls decide to explore.

What is a memorable moment during your early years as an artist?

During my early years as an artist… I’m not sure how far back to go on this. I remember my parent’s friends being supportive of my art and paying for commissioned pieces, I remember my first painting I sold at the Sidewalk Arts Festival. It was actually a really depressing piece of a woman (me), looking all skin and bones, very Tim Burton, stitching my heart back together. I loved that someone related to that and saw beauty in it for themselves. I remember my first painting that got accepted into an auction fundraiser for the Washington Pavilion and I felt super cool. I remember doing my first live painting and a concert and how exhilarating it was.

Do you have any regrets? What is something that you would do differently or suggested to a younger artist?

What is something that you would do differently or suggested to a younger arist? The one regret I have is how long of a break I took from painting after
having kids. But I recently did a couple of portraits of my girls and my lawd – did I bawl my eyes out. It was like coming home. It showed me that creativity is always there (as is inspiration) and just as much as it’s always there – it’s important for me to show it that I’m always there for it, too. That I’m receptive, that I’ll be visiting again and again. Kind of like an old friend, ya know? I felt like I was saying ‘I’m so sorry I took so long to write back to you and visit, but I want you to know I’ve felt your love and while I’ve been closed off to you – I see you and I love you always and forever. I can’t wait to visit you again’.

As far as something I’d suggest to a younger artist – don’t be afraid to market yourself. You’re not selling yourself out. If you want to make a living by being an artist, you gotta learn how to sell yourself, your art, and be okay with the word ‘no’. It’s also okay to keep your passions and hobbies to yourself. You’re not required to share it to the world, you’re not required to make money off it, you’re not required to do whatever anyone says you’re ‘supposed’ to do. That said, I do believe that creativity is a God given gift (in any form), and it is necessary to put it out into the world somehow. By living in your creativity, you’re making room for joy for yourself and others.

What drives, motivates, and inspires you today as an artist?

Music is a big driver for me. I love getting lost in tunes. Creating today looks like brand design, so I’ve found a way to keep my need to create by helping others build their own digital canvas for their brands. I truly treat every brand I work on as a piece of art, because I believe that it is art. It’s an art piece that lives in the every day and conversations. I also have learned that if I don’t create, I get depressed AF. I feel as though I have no purpose without creating. The things that inspire me today as an artist is my environment and all the wonderful stories I get to hear and help build for others.

Hey, Carl! [On Instagram]

Who is an inspiration or artist that you believe is crushing the game right now?

I could go on and on with a list of creatives that are doing amazing things around here. I don’t know if I could name just one that’s crushing the game. Sioux Falls (and South Dakota) has been blessed with a wonderful community of artists and overall, I think there’s some pretty great support for it, too.

As far as inspiration goes, I’ve loved following textile artists, makeup artists, and clay earring makers. I’m always amazed at how different someone can make the same shape look and how they can have the same tools but make completely different things/designs. My close friends are a constant inspiration and as cheesy as it may seem, my daughters. I love seeing the little things that bring joy to their growing hearts and brains and seeing how they use their imagination on a daily basis.

“Brands are art. So, as an artist, I truly treat every brand that I work with as a piece of art.”

What are you currently working on?

In my business, my project list looks like a logo design for an Ethiopian cafe, social media templates for the Whole Mompreneur, brochure designs for a nonprofit organization, some web designs, and elevating my client experience with some cool new guides.

Personally, I’m working on some spiritual healing, how food nurtures (or doesn’t nurture) my body, pelvic floor therapy (have kids they said lololol), and connecting with my body. I’m also working on teaching myself to relax more and to slow my roll.

If there’s any place in the world where you would take your art, where would it be?

My favorite part about brand design is I can take that anywhere with me. I think I’d love to take it with me on a beach in Italy. In general, though, seeing my brand designs and/or any paintings of mine – anywhere globally would be pretty awesome. My only concern on that is taxes. But then again, if I had my art/designs globally, I’d probably have a regular accountant to do all that for me 🙂

Anything cool that we can expect from you?

I just launched my new site, I work with some awesome people and get to create some really cool shit IMO. I feel officially cool for being on a podcast episode with Maddie from Take It Personally. IDK, in general, I like to think I’m pretty cool.

As an artist, do you focus on the future a lot? What does the future mean to you?

All. The. Time. Especially since it’s a part of my income. How do I nurture my creativity without building resentment, keeping boundaries to avoid burnout, and visiting my old friend, painting.

My goal for me and the future all pertains to the word freedom. Free to play, free to create, free to rest, free to travel, free to just be. And also on an acreage.

In one word, how would you describe yourself as an artist, and what you say to your younger self about this?

Playful. ‘Young Carly, I love how playful you are. You always find a way to invite play, whatever that looks like, into your space. You’re playful in your art, playful in your work, playful in everything you do. I love how you invite others to join you in your playfulness, too. You always offer your art with an open heart, and I need you to know it’s okay to rest so you can show up to play without resentment, hesitation or lack of curiosity. Rest up so you can go play and be awesome today. Love you. (insert a hug and kiss on the forehead here).’

All photos credited: Hey, Carl!

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