Abstract, African American

Carla Keaton

Artist Bio

Carla Keaton was born on August 14, 1969, in Cook County hospital in Chicago Illinois. She was born the daughter of a small town Mississippi sharecropper, and to a woman of a strict southern Baptist upbringing.

Carla was raised in Minneapolis, after her parents, along with her two other siblings moved to Minnesota in 1972. She recalls growing up in an environment where very little was ever said, and feelings were rarely expressed. Work was her parent’s sole companion. They worked long, and they worked hard. Bills had to be paid, and children had to be fed. Quality time was not affordable.

Carla, the youngest of the three, spent most of her time in her room reading and drawing. She looked forward to the late evenings when her mother and father returned home from work, and stayed up way past her bedtime just to steal a glimpse of them wearily climbing the staircase towards their bedroom. They were tired and worn, and too tired to notice.

Carla watched and read the drain on their faces, the anguish in their eyes, and the exhaustion of their bodies. It was all very clear. No words needed. No questions asked.

This has been the basis of her work ever since.

“Inspiration for my paintings come from a need to capture, define, record and communicate the histories, stories and moments in time of diverse groups of human populations globally. These recorded “moments” serve as a portal, offering the viewer access to the lives and souls of those captured on canvas, and the lives and souls of us all.”

“The eyes are the windows of the soul”

English Proverb

Carla Keaton received her degree in Painting and Physical Anthropology from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Her work has been featured in several art galleries across Arizona. Carla is a commissioned portrait artist and has also illustrated two, published children’s books. Carla is also a muralist and has created several murals across the valley. Her paintings have been compared to the famous American realist painter Edward Hopper. She is a full time artist, residing in Tempe, with her daughter Anansa, and dogs Zoey and Snickers.

Artist Statement

The premise for any great painting or drawing starts with the elements of simple geometric shapes, composition and design. In order for a work of art to be sound, it must first successfully execute these principles. Once that is accomplished, one can begin to build upon that foundation, adding expressive line, value, form, light, shadow detail etc.

As an artist, I am drawn to the underlying geometric shapes that everything consists of. Additionally, I am intrigued by shapes that are created, as a result, throughout the negative space surrounding the subject. In my work, the objective is to emphasize the beauty of dynamic relationships between simple shapes. I choose an ordinary object, simplify its shape, repeat and overlap it throughout the picture plane in a variety of, sizes, perspectives and angles to create a stimulating composition. Black and white is powerful, literally and figuratively. As polar opposites, the combination of the two create the most striking contrast when juxtaposed in a visual piece. In addition to black and white, I add tonal value to the individual shapes randomly throughout the composition. During this process, the developing image speaks to me, and I intuitively apply the next component, creating mood, depth, form, harmony,