• adidas + UO: Carlotta Kohl

    The future is now. For our new + exclusive adidas campaign, we teamed up with 19 up-and-coming creative minds that our shaping our cultural landscape. Scroll on to go behind the scenes of our Fall 2016 campaign and meet the creatives who are working to #createourfuture. 

    Artist Carlotta Kohl works in the encaustic medium, an unforgiving form of painting with wax that creates works that are as beautiful to look at as they are difficult to produce. We sat down with Carlotta to talk working with wax and how to find beauty in imperfection.
    Lead photo by Petra Collins

    Photo by Petra Collins

    What’s on your mind? 
    Well, I was just thinking about how I could have made those Snapchats better. But, I don’t know. I’m excited to be a part of this. It’s been a fun day. 

    Cool, that rules. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, what you do? 
    I’m an artist. I’m a photographer and a painter. I work with the encaustic medium, which is wax. So I paint with wax and I utilize found and old typography from adult film posters. 

    Are there special considerations you have to make when you’re working with wax when you paint?
    It’s such a temperamental medium. It dries really quickly and once you do something, it’s kind of there unless you really scrape it off. It’s far different from anything I’ve ever worked with. That’s also what excites me. You can’t recreate something again. A lot of it has to do with just happy accidents. You kind of have to relinquish control, which is cool, but then also be really controlled at the same time. It’s got an ebb and flow. I like have to make these quick decisions. It excites me. 

    It sounds pretty risky, whichever way you go. 

    What’s the first thing you can ever remember making? 
    I remember always taking impressions of things, getting a piece of paper and and putting it over something, and scribbling. I did that with everything. I just wanted to bring a piece of everything with me. I guess that’s before I found photography. 

    Photo by Petra Collins

    Whether photographs or painting, what makes an image powerful to you? 
    I would say there’s an emotional connection to what you’re making or what someone else has made. It’s this weird moment where you feel connected somehow. I don’t think it’s one thing… I mean… 

    You know it when you see it? 
    You kind of know it when you see it. For me, when I’m making work, it’s all very personal. It’s another way for me to deal with different things that have happened in my life, or to deal with what i’m feeling. 

    What’s the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome? 
    I’m a huge perfectionist and that’s really gotten in the way in so many areas of my life. 

    That’s interesting that you’re a perfectionist but you work in a medium where it’s so hard to be perfect. 
    Yeah. I used to struggle to make anything because I had this idea of the way it needed to be and it would become such a daunting thing. Letting go of the idea of perfection, because perfection is so hindering. You learn from your mistakes, and every bad piece is actually progress. It leads you in a different direction. 

    As someone who’s struggled with ideas of perfection, do you think you’re in a place now where you can help others overcome similar feelings? 
    Yeah, I think applies beyond just the art world. It can mean a lot of different things, like having the perfect body, or the perfect whatever, being perfect. We just have to accept ourselves and those imperfections are what make things beautiful. The more I try to control the wax, the worse it comes out. My first piece, I tried to paint realistic things with the wax, and then just kind of spilled this one thing, then I tried spilling this other thing. Then, it was beautiful, and that’s what made it beautiful. If everything’s perfect, then nothing is perfect, in a way. 

    What’s the happiest moment in your life? 
    I don’t think I’ve had the happiest moment of my life. I’ve had so many happy moments. I have happy moments every day. Even just the light before the sun sets. That’s when I just appreciate everything around me. That sounds cheesy, but yeah. I guess it’s yet to come. 

    Imagine you could speak to every person on the planet at once, what would you say? 
    That we should all treat each other like the human beings that we are and love one another. We have to set an example for the generations to come. 

    Photo by Braina Laviena @picsfortipz 

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