Carly Swenson

I’m an intuitive acrylic/mixed media artist from northern Montana. I’ve traveled and lived abroad, studying in China, traveling throughout Europe, and living in England and the Azores, Portugal. This has impacted my world view, influenced my work, expanded my love of art history. 

I’ve been a practicing visual artist for over a decade. My early work was primarily mixed media, often playing off themes of social justice, gender roles, and social expectations.

In 2015, I began intuitive painting, this was with drastic changes in almost all other aspects of my life. My artistic focus became embracing uncertainty and intrinsically trusting the creative process. Art has become a form of healing and self-care through my own transformative personal growth.

By painting with no expectations, I’m fully use the colors, textures, and brush strokes that simply feel right, instead of working toward a preconceived end result. Abstract layers eventually become atmospheric, implied forms reveal themselves, and I intuitively fill in this imagery. It’s similar to the way we find animal shapes in clouds or faces in tree bark.

Painting without an identifiable concept of success is daunting yet beautifully freeing. Finished works take on an unintentionally surreal dreamlike quality.

Messy. Detailed. Colorful. Meaningful. Subtle. Restless. Energetic. Trivial. Tranquil. The ambiguous and contradictory nature of the human experience is mirrored in my work. Emerging shapes and patterns of lucidity fade into the background. When engaging with my work, colors and imagery provoke emotions unique to each viewer. Beauty formed from cacophony into a calming sense of peace. A precious moment only for yourself lost in viewing art. 

As well as intuitive painting, I’ve begun a more provocative feminist series, entitled Bloodwork. This ongoing project includes over fifty hand-lettered statements (Drawn with graphite, India ink, and menstrual blood) reflecting my increased emotional turmoil, fear, and frustration as a woman in the US since the 2016 presidential election.

My work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the US and internationally. My freelance writing and mixed media journals have been published in nationally distributed art magazines. I’ve facilitated art workshops and private lessons for children and adults. My work is also included in the permanent art collections of the Angra do Heroismo Museum (Terceira, Azores), Brooklyn Art Library (Brooklyn, NY) and Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN).

You can find out more about Carly and follow her work on Facebook, Instagram, and on her Website.