If you’ve ever felt like you’d like to add a little more color into your life, there’s an artist in Barrington who has made that her business. Carla Bank grew up in Mexico City and says the colorful sights, vibrant sounds and masterful murals of her childhood home have shaped her outlook on her life and her art.
Carla Bank is brand new to Barrington. In fact, she and her husband moved here from Florida this past February on the snowiest day in decades. Remember the Great Blizzard of 2011? Yep. That’s the day they pulled into town.
But this artist says even the darkest winter days inspire her to create with color. Her assortment of animated hues will grab you with an energy that’s characteristically Carla. So I asked her to share, in her own words, where all this color comes from.
365: What inspired you to become an artist?
Carla: Growing up in Mexico City I had the advantage of seeing amazing murals by famous masters all the time, like Diego Rivera, José Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Since I was in Kindergarten I still remember, when it was painting and coloring time, I would feel passion in doing it and I could do it for hours. One time when I was in first grade my school took us to Frida Kahlo’s studio in Coyoacan, Mexico City and I was fascinated when I saw the studio and Frida’s work. Since that day I haven’t stopped painting.
365: What do you love about painting?
Carla: Painting is my life. Every time I do it I feel love, peace, passion and happiness. Painting brings peace to my life and when I am worried or sad, that feeling goes away. It is a balance in my life.
365: What are your favorite things to paint?
Carla: I love to paint happy subjects, sometimes pop art, candy themes, hearts, cupcakes, peace signs, sometimes whimsical themes, abstracts or portraits of pop art celebrities but everything is very colorful and vibrant. I love to make people happy with my art.
365: Where do you find your inspiration?
Carla: In my kids, nature, my friends, fashion, trends, colors, even when it’s winter in Chicago and you look outside and it’s dark, I feel the need of bringing more color to my paintings.
365: What features would you say make your work uniquely yours?
Carla: I think my colors tend to attract a young crowd from little girls and boys to teenagers. I love when they come to see my art and I love to see how they enjoy it and get excited, especially with my candy themes. I feel there is a need of fun art for that age group. We basically see art for adults, for their homes or we find art for nurseries and baby rooms but what about out teenagers? We don’t want them to think art is boring :).
Carla studied Graphic Design in Mexico and attended The School of the Art Institute when she moved to Chicago in 1996. Though her career is in Graphic Design, Carla says she’d rather paint all day and all night. She says she grabs her brushes the minute her kids are off to school each morning and as soon as the their lights go out at night.
Right now, she’s focused on painting with acrylics, but once Chicago’s art show season ends, Carla will go back to working with encaustics. With encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, artists use heated beeswax, to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface like wood, canvas and other materials. Carla can tell you all about encaustic painting. She loves it and says she’d be happy to share.
If you want to meet Carla, you’ll find her displaying her works for the first time here at the Barrington Art Festival this weekend. She’ll be set up in Booth 165, right on Lake Street. If you’d like to reach her in person, she says you’re welcome to send her an email at CarlaBankDesigns@gmail.com, you’ll find her on Facebook by clicking HERE and you can also view her artwork on her website at Carla-Bank-ArtistWebsites.com. Don’t forget, the fest is FREE and will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.