Meet Artist Carolyn Figel
Brought to you by Talenthouse.
Carolyn Figel (@carolynfigel) is a Brooklyn-based freelance illustrator and designer. In her free time, she enjoys eating chips and writing short descriptions about herself. Her artwork is also featured on the cover of Ello's magazine Not For Print Issue 02.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello's Social Media & Email Manager. She lives in Evergreen, CO with her husband, two dogs, and one hedgehog named Ditters who hates everything except for mealworms and tunnels.
Pssst: Leave a comment on this post and you could win a print from Carolyn.
First off, tell us a little bit about how you became an illustrator/animator/designer (since you’re kind of a triple-threat).
To be honest I think I do all three since I'm more of a jack of all trades, master of none. I also get bored easily, and can't focus on a theme or style for too long.
How did you develop your signature sketchy, brush-stroke-y style?
Practice, and a lot of mistakes along the way.
What is your creative process like? Do you start with a sketchbook and pencil, doodle on the computer, just dive straight into perfection…?
It tends to be a mix of all three. Sometimes I'll take a sketch from a piece of paper, and that will turn into a vector illustration.
And sometimes I'll draw something on the computer, and realize it will look better if I draw it by hand. I wouldn't say planning is my forte, but I'm still learning.
One of my favorite things about your work is your ability to communicate a sense of humor. Why is it important to you to inject some sarcasm or just ridiculousness into your pieces?
Humor is something I've always gravitated towards. I would rather make someone laugh at my work than make them reflect deeply. I also think it's important not to take things too seriously.
Some of your work has definite “lady power” vibes (which I’m very into). Tell us a little bit about why you’re leaning into that theme.
I never was very political until Trump was elected, but now it feels that if you don't speak out then you're part of the problem. A lot of my work stems from frustration after reading the news, and my illustrations or animations are a way to fuel that anger into something productive.
Your “Voicemail Sandwiches” project is f***ing hilarious and super weird. What sparked that idea (and are you still looking for recordings)?
A few years ago I stumbled upon a very well organized Sandwich appreciation club that hosts an annual Sandwich Summit in upstate New York. The summit includes presentations, panel discussions, and various forms of art all centered around one theme: the sandwich. I knew I wanted to work on an animation for the next summit, and was going back and forth on ideas. Around that time my brother sent me a birthday voicemail from our Aunt, and the whole thing kinda clicked. Next thing I knew I was buying different kinds of bread, and visiting dollar stores to create a montage of sandwiches to shoot and animate on top of.
And yes, I'm always looking for more recordings!
What’s next for you? Any dope projects on the horizon?
Right now just waiting to hear back from some upcoming projects that will hopefully pay my rent. Oh, and working on a logo for a new client!
You run https://chipsoftheworld.tumblr.com/. Absolute best chip in the world, go.
Chips of the World is a group project initiated by my friend Jess. A lot of my friends are snack enthusiasts and well traveled. Instead of bringing back souvenirs from our trips, we try to bring back a new flavor of Potato Chip. My all-time favorite is "All-Dressed"!
What are you doing when you’re not illustrating/animating?
Most likely eating or thinking about what my next meal will be.
You can follow Carolyn on Ello, Instagram, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Twitter.
#ElloInterviewSeries brought to you by Talenthouse.