By KERRY KRISEMAN
Public Relations Manager
Creative Clay Member Artist Carla L. couldn’t tell you which medium is her favorite.
“All kinds,” she says. “I can’t pick a favorite.”
Painting portraits, embroidering, writing scripts, and shaping creatures with clay motivate Carla to produce art for Creative Clay’s Good Folk Gallery.
Carla is from New York, but she was born in Venezuela. She joined Creative Clay’s Community Arts Program after graduating from Creative Clay Transition, a partnership vocational program with the Pinellas County School System.
Carla is the featured artist in Creative Clay’s current exhibit, Timeline of an Artist. All works are for sale in the online gallery. They show Carla’s as a baby, artist, and immigrant.
Carla talks here about her life as an artist and her desire to become a United States citizen.
CC: What do you love about being a Creative Clay artist?
CL: I love to be able to do my own style of art.
CC: You are an immigrant. How did that affect your schooling?
CL: I was able to attend public school because my family and I came to Florida as tourists. Because of my disability, I could attend public school.
CC: Talk about the process to become a U.S. Citizen.
CL: I applied in August 2020 to become a citizen. I am waiting on a letter that will tell me to go to Tampa to have my fingerprints and photograph taken. Two to three weeks later, I’m supposed to receive another letter to tell me to go to Tampa for an interview. Then, a few weeks later, I will be told when to go to Tampa to take my oath as a U.S. citizen.
CC: What kind of art do you most like to create?
CL: I like to paint people. I like to paint famous people.
CC: What famous people have you painted?
CL: I’ve painted President Obama, President Biden, my favorite singer, and Disney stars.
CC: What is your favorite piece of art you’ve painted?
CL: My favorite painting is of my favorite singer, Prince Royce.
CC: How do you feel about being this month’s featured artist for ArtWalk?
CL: I feel proud.
CC: What else would you like to say about Creative Clay?
CL: I want to go back to in-person classes. Creative Clay is a great place to be. I’ve been there for years. Creative Clay is great. I’ve been going since I was 19. It is the best place for people with disabilities to be themselves.
Carla also works in ceramics, hand-building giraffes, and other animals. Her acrylic paintings are often colorful portraits of celebrities and singers. One of her paintings was inspired by the St. Petersburg Opera’s production of West Side Story. It was purchased by a collector at the event opening. Carla’s line drawing of an owl was selected and used on printed greeting cards and t-shirts. Her artwork appears in private collections and exhibits in the Tampa Bay area, as well as Creative Clay’s Good Folk Gallery.
When she’s not creating, Carla enjoys music, her friends and family, and the New York Yankees. Visit www.creativeclay.org to see Carla’s artwork and works for sale.
Creative Clay’s core program is its Community Arts Program, which serves 50-60 adult artists with neuro-differences each week. Through the implementation of additional offerings, such as the inclusive Art Around the World summer camp, Summer Studio for older teens and young adults, Artlink employment program, Creative Care Arts in Wellness outreach program, and its Pinellas County Schools’ partnership Transition program, individuals of all ages and abilities are mentored, taught and empowered to become working artists who actively create, market and sell their work.