We had a chance to sit down with Carla Bartow, who won our contest for the design of the WRUR Record Store Day Tote Bag, and we wanted you to meet the artist, too. Remember, you can get your limited edition WRUR Record Store Tote Bag at House of Guitars, Record Archive, Needledrop, Bop Shop Record Exchange and Lakeshore Record Exchange this Saturday, April 16th, while supplies last! #WRURtagyourtote
What was the inspiration behind your winning design for the WRUR tote bag?
The inspiration behind my design was my last roommate in Rochester, Meatball the dog. I might have promised his mom that I'd make his image famous someday.
How long have you been illustrating for? Is this something you started at a young age?
I have been drawing since an early age, and I graduated from RIT with a BFA in Illustration in 2008.
How and when did linoleum block carving/printing become a medium for you? What drew you to it?
My mom might still have a print that I did in high school in her attic. Every kid carves potato stamps, and I did too. I revisited block printing when studying abroad in Australia in 2002, and then again during my final year at RIT. It stuck after that.
Record Store Day is upon us! What bands are you into these days?
I'm so excited about the Punch Brothers nowadays. As Chris Thile has started to host A Prairie Home Companion I've gotten to see them play with other favorites such as Ben Folds, Andrew Bird, and Paul Simon. It blew my mind. The last show that I went to was a few nights ago when my Rochester girl Mikaela Davis was playing here in Portland. I've known Mikaela Davis since my Bug Jar days.
What kind of music, if any, do you listen to during your creative process?
Lately, I've been revisiting Blur and ELO. It ranges.
Which project(s) are you most proud of? Anything on deck that you’re especially excited about?
I'm proud to say that I've designed tee shirts for Righteous Babe Records (Ani DiFranco), wine labels with Brianne Day, and a helmet with Nutcase Helmets. I'm working on the Pedalpalooza poster right now, and drawing bike sharks and mermaids.
In your mind, what makes for a great arts community? Parallels / differences between the scenes in Rochester & Portland, OR?
A great arts community is diverse but based more on comradery than competition. I've found both cities to have that focus.
How has the Rochester Region influenced your art?
Bike rides to the Charlotte Pier peaked my interest in drawing nautical things, which I've drawn quite a bit. One year the Seersucker Social (a bike ride that I organized) departed and returned to that place. Now I live within two hours of the ocean, which is just splendid.