Thought Provoking Art in the Gallery

Perry and Carlson offer a different perspective in the valley.

Cassidy Pearson, Feature Editor

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Skagit Valley is full of rich culture that encourages diversity and self expression, and Downtown Mount Vernon is the hub for people in need of creative outlets. The Perry and Carlson Art Gallery gives Skagit Valley the opportunity to become more knowledgeable and involved in supporting local arts.

Trina Perry Carlson, retail designer/artist, and husband Christian Carlson, architect/artist, opened the gallery and shop in the summer of 2016. Since then, there have been more than ten featured artists and three group shows with national calls.

Trina Carlson prioritizes running the shop, where she sells interior design goods and handmade home products such as jewelry and candles. Christian Carlson is the main director of the art gallery that is alongside the shop. He spends time working on his own features and regulating new pieces into the gallery.

“She really has the larger burden of the business, which is kind of intentional” says Carlson. “I worked full time as an architect for a very long time as a career and I was looking for some free time to pursue other creative interests and meditative time. She was in the home wanting to get back into the workforce. This was a way for her to apply her passions, energy, and intelligence.” says Carlson.

Carlson was pointed towards architecture by his father. “My dad was very traditional and understood I was an artistic kid. He basically said you need to find a job that makes money. A profession that will take advantage of your creativity and he said architecture and I had no reason to disagree.” said Carlson.

Christian Carlson stated that the purpose of opening a gallery in Mount Vernon was to “Offer something that is a little bit different than what you find in the valley, which is local artists doing landscapes”. In his gallery “There has been some landscape focus, but mostly it has been more conceptual.” Carlson continues on to say that “In a way the gallery is very intentionally a gift to the community.”

Conceptualism is defined as art in which the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product. The entirety of the piece is through the artist’s own perspective. Carlson was interested in giving the community something more conceptual.

“There was a show we did in the first year that was a man who stripped down and covered himself in dirt, mud. He pulled incredibly heavy stuff until his body physically couldn’t pull anymore. He falls down shaking because his muscles were spasming. That is very conceptual, very disturbing work.”

Carlson encourages students who are wanting to pursue careers in arts. Carlson’s advice to a student is to “figure out what you want, take your time figuring it out, don’t respond to any kind of peer pressure if everybody is declaring their major and you haven’t decided yet, it doesn’t matter.” He goes on to say “If one wants to pursue a career in the fine arts, my advice is that only do it if it feels like your life depends on it. It’s gotta be the air that you breathe, because it is not an easy life.” Carlson says “there are always people who get lucky and make a lot of money out of it and get rich and famous, but the odds are like professional football.”

Carlson says that “As far as I’m concerned everyone should be an artist. We are all creative. Musicians, artists, writers, or people who dig weird shaped holes in the backyard. Everyone is creative and people who don’t think they are just haven’t found the right medium yet.”

Carlson’s feelings about Skagit Valley is that “The way that we find it is great, but the thought of more people coming downtown and living downtown and there being more things for them to see, will just make it an even better town. So we liked it the way we found it, but also think that it could maybe be more vibrant in the future.” Trina and Christian Carlson are both striving to push Skagit Valley’s artistic community to new thinking.

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Thought Provoking Art in the Gallery