Caroline Italia CarlsonErnest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

So true, and true as well for the visual artist. The act of creating is exhilarating to be sure, but it is often excruciating. If you are an artist, you’ve probably thought the same thing, whether you are just starting out or have a long career behind you.

The most important characteristic of successful creatives isn’t talent, money, a spacious studio with northern light, or even being able to devote full-time attention to your craft. The most important characteristic is the will to take consistent action. You’ve got to keep showing up. The irony is that you can’t count on being inspired before you get your hands dirty. The beauty is that when you engage in your creative pursuit, the act of engaging in it often ignites inspiration. That is why in my dictionary, inspiration is a verb.

I’m your host, Caroline Italia Carlson. I’ve been an artist all my life. Both my parents were entrepreneurs and craftsmen, and I grew up amidst the grit and economic stress of family business. We lived on Long Island and I spent many days wandering the museums and galleries of New York City. My studies began early. I learned fine art and illustration and was freelancing before I was eighteen.

I graduated from the State University at Stony Brook with a degree in painting and art history. While painting remained my first love after school, growing up in a household with two unpredictable incomes let me to launch my career in corporate marketing firms, working in print, web design and development, and illustration. My journey took me from New York to New Jersey to California, and over 20 years later I am settled in the midwest.

I continued to paint and show my work over the years, and despite winning awards for my work, I could not see my way to letting go of the security of my 9 to 5 job. Even while often freelancing at the same time.

The recent death of my father was pivotal for me, however. I still enjoy the creative kaleidoscope of my corporate career, but I’m finally dedicating serious time and intention to my painting. I’m currently creating a new body of work with which to find my next gallery.

If I had to turn my artist statement into an elevator pitch, it would be that my work is about connection and loneliness. This includes connection to fellow humans and our kindred spirits in the animal world. It’s about the gap between what is said and what we feel but cannot say. We are all connected and we need each other. If you look at life from the end first, nothing else really matters.

I have created this podcast to encourage other artists to continue to create. For the most part, the episodes will consist of artist interviews. You’ll get practical tips and techniques and hear how they’ve created successful careers. You’ll also hear from people on the business end of the art world as they share insights into getting yourself out there and navigating the waters. And finally, you’ll have a front row seat as I share my victories and screw-ups along the way. And I’m sure the Journey will be worth it.

I hope you’ll join me. Feel free to sign up for my mailing list at to receive exclusive bonus materials. I’d also love for you to message me about podcast topics you are interested in, and pictures of your art as you show up and create.

Don’t forget, if you’re making art out of passion for the creative journey, whether it’s your full time career, a side-gig, or a hobby, you are an artist and you have people. I would be honored to count myself among them.

Until next time,

Go make something.