Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artists and creators from York Region. This episode is all about Carmen Li from Carli Paintings!
I read in your profile that you are a self taught artist. When did you decide to pursue your passion?
I started experimenting with watercolor and doodling when I was young and always had a creative mind. My dad taught me how to write Chinese calligraphy when I was 8 and ever since then I was in love with the brush. In my last year of high school, our final science project was to create a 3D organ that was free standing and that was when I started to experiment with acrylic paint. We have been inseparable ever since! I continued to pursue an education in the science area and have my B.SC in Psychology and currently work for the Ontario health care system. I always wanted to give back and give joy to others and that’s why I chose the field I’m in now. In 2014, I decided to share my paintings with others and I was surprised to receive great reception. In the last 2 years I learned a lot through social media, other artists, and constructive feedback from my dad and from there I created the the Positive Vibes collection as one of my first set of paintings to share with others in hopes to bring colour to remind them of joyous days and put a smile on their faces. In addition, I hope that my work inspires and motivate others to pursue their dreams and continue to be kind and humble along the way.
Do you have a home studio? Where do you create your artwork?
I hope to have a studio one day but right now its my good old kitchen counter and my dining room area. It works great and my fiance is not too upset with me taking up all the space in our condo. My next project outside of creating more art is to figure out better lighting…lighting is key for photos!
Tell us a bit about your process. I love the combination of fine detailed drawings and bright coloured forms. Do you start with an idea or let the abstract forms create the story?
I use acrylic ink to create the bright and highly pigmented colour combinations. I have experimented with various types of medium and my favorite remains to be acrylic ink. I use different brands of ink but my favorite is Golden high flow. Colour give the eyes a positive perception and the brighter the colour, the more we associate it with happiness. That’s why most of my paintings are very vibrant. The drawings are very simple-almost a quick reminder that happiness doesn’t have to be complicated. The purpose of all of my collections is to have people emotionally connect to each piece and enjoy the happy moments. I too have challenges and rough days and its those people who put a smile on my face with encouragement who inspire me the most to create art to pay it forward.
What do you find challenging about being a working artist?
I wish I could paint and create art 24/7! I do think that working allows me to step outside of my creative mind and gives me a different perspective. When I’m creating art or painting, it gives me a completely different feeling and connection with my physical and emotional being. I’m absolutely grateful and humble to be able to do both!
What do you hope for the future? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?
It has been 5 months since my first show in August 2016 at Kensington Market Art Fair and I think I have a long ways to go as a student of all art forms. I envision that I will continue to grow as an artist and as a person and continue to create art that brings happiness to others. No limits with some sleepless nights is definitely part of the equation! I would like the business to grow into artwork that anyone can connect with and purchase to admire in their space. This is one of the reasons why all my pieces are created individually because different people connect with different colours, meanings, quotes, etc. Eventually, I hope to transform some of my art pieces into day to day functional items!
Early Bird or Night Owl?