Sculptor of figures in bronze, and painter, especially of Tarahumara Indians, born in Elmhurst, Illinois, in 1940 and living in Franktown, Colorado. “I started sculpting,” his discloses, “because I thought it’d help my drawing. I grew convinced that if I knew what the other side of a man’s head looked like, I could draw him better. From the first touch, sculpting has proved to be the most exhilarating experience of my life.”
He was drawing seriously at seven and studied at the American Academy of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the University of Arizona, although he never stayed long enough to be influenced in style. After trying commercial art and finding that “slickness was choking off my creative ability,” he moved to Taos and lived with painter Buffalo Kaplinski. For two years, he refrained from painting to flush out his commercial experience. He listened to the Indians and “was determined that my art would show the Indian’s harmony with nature, not his savagery.”
“I keep working towards the simplest style, the least number of statements needed in a work. I do whatever is necessary to get down the essence of a subject. Abstract shapes are foremost in my mind when I’m designing, but when the basics are neglected, freedom of expression is lost. An artist should at least understand muscle masses and think of these masses as designs.” Carlson is a member of National Academy of Western Art, won its Prix de West in 1975, was featured in Southwest Art, October 1976, and Artists of the Rockies, summer 1980.
Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.