Artist to Watch: Carla Goldberg
Posted on 02 July 2018
Carla Goldberg has been with Blink Art since it’s inception in 2014 and has seen much success with our annual sourcebook Blink Art Resource through gallery representation and commissions. Since there is so much interest in her seafoam and ripple effect series, we sat down with Carla to get insight on her inspiration.
Carla’s art has a magical way of transporting you to the first time you saw and were mesmerized by the waves in an ocean, lake, or pool. Goldberg says that she, too, is captivated by water. “It shows up in so many different things. You can’t live without water. I grew up in Palm Springs, so my first water memory are those crazy patterns in a swimming pool when the sun was hitting it just right, and it would do these undulating, just weird light patterns.” She adds, “When you think back to going to the beach, it’s always about how the sunlight was sparkling on the water and how those weird patterns happen. You just get mesmerized by that. It always comes back to the water.” Goldberg says that being around water is a deep, contemplative, and freeing experience for her. “There isn’t anything else that makes me stop and stare and lets my mind wander. If I’m by a pool, or I’m at the shore, I’m standing still. The only thing that’s going on is me looking. It allows me to calm down and relax, and my mind opens up. I never know where my thoughts are going to go, but I feel very free.”
Water: A Fountain of Inspiration
So, it should come as no surprise that water serves as an inspiration to her in the creative process. “It just so happened that about 15 years ago,” she explains, “I started working with resin. It automatically reminds me of water. One pushes the other. It was kind of like a matter of the material finding its right place.”
Working with resin also serves her experimental interests well. “I love to experiment. I never know what it is I’m going to find in something I’m working on that then spurs on the next idea.”
An accident that led to the start of a new series
Goldberg relates how one experiment led to a lucky accident, “I had these white-oil ink pens that I was using, and they tend to leak occasionally, so I happened to be drawing with one and it just sort of exploded. There were ten seconds of ‘Ah, oh no!’ And then I looked at it and thought, ‘It looks like spit. No, not spit. It looks like seafoam.’”
The seafoam results sparked vivid and happy memories for her. “I started to remember hanging out with my dad every year and his family on the Jersey Shore during the summer. What a great memory! And I realized that I don’t have to draw exactly what it is that you would see in a photograph. This is based on the memory of these patterns. The memory of the color. The memory of the light shimmering through it. It’s an interpretation. And that literally is how the series started, a lucky accident.”
She’s learned to embrace lucky accidents like this. “That’s probably 90% of how a series starts,” she says. “This lucky accident and you just allow yourself to see what’s in there.”
Chasing ideas is thrilling to Goldberg. “I mean I can do the same series over and over again, but I’m the kind of person who will get bored.” She adds, “To me, there’s nothing more exciting than chasing down an idea, reinventing the wheel repeatedly. I absolutely love chasing ideas. That’s the whole thing that rocks my world.”
Learning to push through the mistakes and be patient
Mistakes can still be frustrating, though. “Depending on where my hand is going,” she explains, “I have to let sections dry. I cannot make a mistake. There’s no erasing. There’s no coming back from dragging a piece of the resin across. Sometimes I work on a piece for weeks and weeks and weeks, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, no!’ I must go with it. I have to wait for something to dry and try to incorporate a mistake.”
And her two-foot by four-foot panels are labor-intensive pieces. “Typically, it takes about five weeks from start to finish, and that’s drawing on it every single day, but drawing is three-quarters of the time that it takes. Then I frost it, and then I have to go in with resin, and every single cluster of circles, no matter how big or small, gets filled with resin, so that’s also really time-consuming, and it usually takes a couple of days to resin a piece. I can’t do it all in one day.”
Still, she adds, “sometimes the ones you struggle the most with actually are the most compelling pieces.”
Up next for Carla
When asked what’s next on her plate of experiments, she answered, “I am contemplating some version of photography and incorporating some of the seafoam photographs that I take and putting those into resin. They would be completely see-through. And what’s really cool is that it traps bubbles, so you feel like your underwater instead of on top of the water. I’ll probably get three or our four in, and go, ‘Yes!’ or ‘No.’” She laughs.
Coming up later this year in November, Goldberg has a big show in Brooklyn that’s she really excited about. “One of the things that is exciting me about this show is they want seafoam, but they want it big.” It will challenge her to work with six panels, each one 48” x 60”. “The challenge is to make each one work on its own, yet it has to work as a six-panel piece where the design keeps growing from one into the other, and I’m going to incorporate miniature LED lights inside the piece.”
Success found through Blink Art Resource
As mentioned, Carla has found much success through participating in Blink Art Resource. From commissions for Healthcare collections, residential clients to gallery representation Carla's unique interpretation of the effects of water has been well received.