Carl Christensen: Full-Time Artist

  • Share

  • There’s no lack of Pinners who constantly encourage all of us to be more creative, whether their pins are inspiring us to host a party for the first time, break out our art supplies, or reignite past hobbies. This spirit of encouragement is definitely why we had to interview Carl Christensen, who boldly left his corporate-life behind to become a full-time artist/photographer. We hope you’ll find his story and advice as compelling as we do.

    Hi Carl! First, can you tell us a little about yourself?

    I am a published, award-winning photographer, gallery owner, husband, father of four, I have been passionately and professionally involved in the arts my whole adult life.

    I spent 15 years in New York as a Creative Director before finally getting the opportunity to follow my heart and go full-time as an artist.

    For me, it started when I found my dad’s old Yashica-Mat in the closet. I was eight. I was fascinated and Dad gave me my first Kodak Brownie that year. One year later he bought me some film… hey, I really had no idea I needed film! But it was a great way to learn composition. I suppose that is why I still have a passion for my collection of old film cameras.

    While I still find myself shooting film, including that old Brownie, I feel quite at home in the digital world as well, so my work is a combination of both.

    Your gallery Integrity Studio recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary (congratulations!). How did you get started in photography and handcrafting frames?

    The work had always been a part of my life, but it just took a back seat. After 15 years of traveling and working in New York, I left the corporate life to start Integrity Studio in the Spring of 2000. At first I would sell my photography out of my trunk at art fairs.

    In the Spring of 2003, I opened my gallery in the art community of New Hope, Pennsylvania. Now with more space I am able to showcase my larger murals in my handcrafted frames as well as my abstract paintings.

    Your photographs tend to have a dreamy or nostalgic quality. What subjects or moments inspire you to reach for your camera?

    Since I don’t often have the time to travel, I need to challenge myself to find the extraordinary in the commonplace of everyday. My photography, whether straightforward or experimental, is about finding great light and even better composition.

    My goal is to take the viewer away, back to that space I saw, with very little interruption. Even if that place is his neighbor’s front lawn, I challenge myself to shoot that place in its finest moment.

    How does Pinterest fit into your business or your personal life?

    I love the freedom Pinterest gives me. I appreciate that Pinterest is about great images and great ideas, without all the complications of relationships. I don’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings because I didn’t friend them. It’s social but not forced interaction.

    Besides photography, what other passions or interests do you love?

    I am a woodworker. I make all the furniture-grade frames for my gallery. I also raise chickens and run our little micro-farm with my four children.

    You switched careers from corporate advertising to opening your own gallery: Do you have any advice for those who want to pursue their passions full-time?

    Full-time is really the key. Anything you do part-time will have a part-time result. It wasn’t until I made the complete commitment that I really began to see the best results. I understand it’s hard for people to leave a “sure thing” but if you truly believe you are meant to do it, you need to go for it.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us Carl! Besides his Photography board on Pinterest, you can see more of Carl Christensen’s work on Etsy.