Meet Carly Larsson, Brooklyn based artist/illustrator. We’ve been a fan of her beautiful work for quite some time, and were lucky enough to commission her to create illustrated recipes of signature dishes and cocktails from our hotels.
We caught up with Carly to learn more about her, the creative process, where she gets inspired, and more.
Where are you from?
Cape Cod, MA
Where do you live now?
Why New York?
I moved here to attend Pratt Institute and never left! I love that there is always something happening, there is a beautiful mix of so many different cultures in one place, and there’s art everywhere, in many forms. The other day I heard music outside, and when I looked out, there was a free ballet in the garden behind my apartment! Where else does that happen?
What is your earliest artistic memory?
I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember! My mom always had our house stocked with nice art supplies. I remember painting with my sister since age two, probably even earlier. I recently found some old art supplies (and paintings) in my parents basement, and was like “Wow Mom, these are some high quality materials to be giving a two-year-old!” But clearly it was worth it!
Have you always known this is what you want to do?
More or less! There was a period of time in high school when it was between this, photography and forensic science… I think I was really into Law & Order at the time. That career path clearly didn’t pan out – I could never spend all day in a lab. But I do still take photos!
When did illustrating become a career?
I did my first illustration job my junior year at Pratt for Roux, a bed & breakfast in Provincetown, MA. Things progressed from there!
Where do you go to get inspired?
I love to go to museums, like the Met and MoMA, as well as parks and gardens around the city. I got the idea for a line of scarves I designed in collaboration with Front Row Society when I was drawing at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I also have a fairly extensive collection of art books- sometimes all it takes is sitting down with a couple of those!
Is there a time of day or environment that is best for creating or illustrating?
No particular time of day! I work at all hours- though I do like to take advantage of natural light when I’m drawing, so I try to work in daylight as much as possible. When drawing on location or taking photographs, the “golden hour” right before sunset is always really inspiring; the way the light reflects off of things creates really beautiful colors.
Do you have a favorite project or piece?
I really loved doing this project with the Thompson Hotels because it combines my love of illustration, hand lettering, and food!
Share something not many people may know about you.
I used to be a figure skater!
Favorite tool in art to work with?
I have two: dip pen and brush.
What is a typical work day like for you?
I think one of the best things about being an illustrator is that there is no typical work day! Every day is different. Occasionally I’ll work on-site at a client’s office, but usually I work from my studio at home and meet with clients over coffee. I’m always working on different projects, which is exciting.
Do you ever have Creative/Artist block? If so, how do you combat it?
Sometimes! If I’m ever feeling totally burned out or uninspired, the best thing to do is get out of the studio. If there’s time, I’ll go to a museum or go out drawing on location with a friend. If a deadline is looming, a walk to the park and/or a quick nap usually does the trick. And books always help!
Favorite place in the city to grab a drink?
There are so many good spots – it’s hard to choose! This great little bar Moloko recently opened up around the corner from my apartment. It has a cozy, romantic atmosphere, delicious cocktails and yummy food. I can be kind of a homebody, so it doesn’t hurt that it’s right around the corner.
Describe NYC in three words.
Inspiring, humming, amalgamation