Conversations with an Artist: Denise Carletta

Denise Carletta Fine Artist Figurative Sculptor and Painter

Denise Carletta has been a fine artist for decades and she would likely say that it's always been a part of her. Her experience "seeing" was so informed by her early studies that she has continuously built on the same theme across various mediums, mostly painting and sculpture. It's a beautiful experience to dig in and see how her expression evolves as she keeps peeling away the layers. And with Denise's new body of sculptures of the human form, you'll no doubt see something reflected in you. We are so excited to welcome Denise to Poet and/the Bench!

Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
Walking to school in elementary days, I would see faces in the sidewalks, in the trees, in-between the shadows and light, and of course in the sky–the clouds showed it all! 

Denise Carletta_Fine Artist as a young girl seeing art

What themes do you pursue in your art?
Always the figure–the human body fascinates me endlessly.

Denise Carletta Charcoal Drawing Human Form_Female FigureDenise Carletta Fine Artist Charcoal Drawing Human Figure_Female Portrait

Tell us about what influences the direction for your craft.
Ancient Greek sculpture by far–my number one source of inspiration. After spending time in high school studying Greek art history in Greece, there was no turning back.

Denise Carletta Torso Pinch Pottery Human Figure Clay SculptureDenise Carletta Clay Sculpture Human Figure TorsoDenise Carletta Clay Figure Sculpture Human BodyDenise Carletta Clay Female Figure Sculpture

How has your work developed over time?
I know now more than ever, I just have to create art. I have no choice. The changes, the different periods have all led from one to the next for whatever reason. Materials change, palettes change, but it's all still me. If anything, my confidence in what I’m creating has become stronger.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
My collections of tools and the boxes and containers they rest in.

Do you collect anything?
Yes, shells, also shells with holes, anything from nature… art from other artists, and lately, Santos. 

Denise Carletta Artful Home

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
I cannot live without music, I listen to it daily: opera, jazz, old rock from the 70”s, and everything else. I love it all. Recently, my teenage son has been sharing his music with me, which has been very interesting, including: Milky Chance: "Levitating" (Dua Lipa Cover) and The Strumbellas: “Spirits”. Books I'm currently reading: David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell, Taste by Stanley Tucci (this is my childhood!) and Sapiens by Yuvall Harari.

What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
What stands out most for me: I’m making art as a means of living a life, not as a means of making a living... anymore.

Bonus Question:

What role has music played for you during COVID or while you work?
It loosens me, helps to decompress, helps me let go and be in the moment and to be in the next moment and so on and so on.

 Denise Carletta Clay Figure Sculptures at It’s Bonnie from Poet and/the Bench and/the Bench

We love that Denise has recently returned to sculpture and it's been so compelling watching her artistic style take form. Denise talks about how her inspiration is often about exposing ourselves, our true selves, whoever that is. And how much work it is to embrace that part of our nature. 

Her sculptures are a method of pinch pottery… no tools, Denise uses her fingers and pinches the clay while she adds volume. At a certain point when the volume feels right she starts using her tools to move the clay. Some pieces with more complicated head and other body positions have internal armature that she makes from wire.

Denise is creating ongoing and we're so excited to be carrying these highly emotive sculptures at Poet and/the Bench.

View the collection for purchase. 

~ Bonnie & Jeffrey

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