At RTJ we cast real women for our photoshoots. We love to learn about their lives and want to share their stories with you.
Carol Warner is a Brooklyn based visual artist with a diverse practice in painting, photography and site-specific installations. Recent works on paper from her “Minds I” series employ rugged surfaces, vibrant colors and sequential symbols that represent the idiosyncratic landscape of the mind. Carol also works as a studio liaison for Franz Mayer of Munich, a glass and mosaic studio developing large scale public art projects.
How do you feel when wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry?
That’s really hard to answer. I love jewelry. I curate my jewelry every morning with my outfit. I have some pieces my grandmother made. I think jewelry taps into self-expression, and I feel like jewelry has an energy to it. I think I get different vibes from my jewelry, how it looks & how it feels on.
Can jewelry change your mood?
Definitely! And sometimes also be inspiring. Like I have a ram’s head ring, or a skull ring. I have two pieces from Ronnie. One has color, and one doesn't. The color can brighten your outlook or mood. I like to have a collection which I can draw from for my needs of the day.
Do you like to get jewelry as a gift? Or do you prefer to choose your own pieces?
I tend to choose my own, so I give them to my husband and say, “this is what you’re giving me.” And then sometimes I’ll get it, I have the shop wrap it - it’s comical really because usually you’re surprised when you get a gift, but sometimes my husband or my daughter are surprised because I’ll have it wrapped, then they see it. Sometimes I get them in on it. We found that it was just useless for my husband to buy jewelry for me because I’m too particular.
When shopping for jewelry, what do you look for? What speaks to you?
I like symbolism and energy. Once for my birthday we were in Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn, and I was trying to turn some corners in my life. I was in a small boutique and the owner had this beautiful little Tarot card that was a necklace. The Tarot card part is so intricate and small, but I know it’s there and she told me it was the Death Card, and she told me that the Death Card was actually about transformation, about rebirth, and I just loved that.
And then, sometimes it’s just form, like one of the pieces I have from Ronnie is a silver piece with a little hole in the middle (Balbi Charm), and then I have another one that’s round, that has color (Balbi in a Circle), so I like to wear those two together. Sometimes the one with color doesn’t work for me that day, but the other one has become a staple. I can sleep in it, it’s such a great necklace. I love the feel of it, and it’s kind of an organic shape, a shape I might think to paint. I’m native American and I like that kind of jewelry, too, because it’s part of my heritage.
When you’re buying jewelry as a gift for someone else, what do you consider about the recipient when choosing the right piece?
I consider their personality, who they are. I consider their interests, and I try to find something that resonates with that.
What's in your jewelry box?
It’s a very eclectic mix. I tend to go through phases where I’ll buy jewelry with animals that have an energy, Native American pieces, birds, some “biker-y” pieces. I like to layer different pieces. I also like to purchase directly from the artist, and support the artist.
Do you have any cherished family heirloom pieces?
I have some cuffs that my grandmother made. She was an artist and teacher. She attended Pratt and did painting, jewelry and mechanical drawing, and she developed a way to teach mechanical drawing for New York State. She taught me to draw. I also have some family pieces from my parents - Southwest/Native American pieces.
Do you collect anything (art, pottery, etc?)
I have a small art collection. I buy about one piece per year and prefer works on paper.
Do you feel more at home in nature, or an urban setting?
In an urban setting, but I do miss nature. I’m very social and like community.
What’s your favorite RTJ piece?
Where do you get inspiration? Do you have a creative process? Tell us about it.
Sometimes my inspiration is organic, but I will also sit with a question for a while. Sometimes I will listen to music and try to get into a meditative place. I’m a Quaker and I’m used to internal reflection. Many things happen when you are doing “nothing.” My goal is to make a visual representation of the inner mingling of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations – a kind of idiosyncratic map of the mind. Painting is a way to conjure an experience beyond words, a world that I plumb for a deeper connection to myself and others. I’m also inspired by language in poetry. Physicality helps, too, so I’ll dance, paint.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I'm delighted to be participating in ABC No Rio’s upcoming group exhibition, “What Have You Been Up To Lately?” which emphasizes new work, spontaneity, fun and camaraderie. Stay tuned for my multimedia project entitled, “Open Book,” where I continue to explore the poetics of the mind.
Visit Carol's website to learn more about her work.