From the Studio of… Carlson Hatton

We are thrilled to share this peek into the life and studio of Los Angeles-based artist Carlson Hatton.

Carlson Hatton in his studio

Favorite material to work with?
I predominately work on paper. I love the fragility, the flatness, the lightness, the way that watery color sinks into it, and the fact that you only have so many chances to get it right before you’ve gone too far. There’s no re-gessoing or sanding back down for me.

How many years as an artist?
I grew up in a ceramics studio because that’s my parents’ profession. While watching cartoons I was encouraged to try to draw the cartoons. I knew that making things was what I wanted to do. I went to art school directly out of high school and continued from there.

At work

Where is your studio?
I have 2 rooms dedicated to studio work. I start works in one of them and finish works/try things out in the cleaner of the two rooms. I live in the Silver Lake part of Los Angeles. I don’t like to separate where I live from where I work; there’s a lot of crossover between the two, and for me they need to be in close proximity.

Best advice given to you as an artist?
“Figure it out what you want to do, trust this and continue to do it with an effort to get closer to the source. Try not to get caught up in what everyone else seems to be doing.”

Pages form Carlson’s sketchbook

Art school or self taught?
Art school. The Cooper Union (New York City), de Ateliers (Amsterdam, NL), and the Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, NL).

Music or Silence?
Both, but I do listen to a lot of music. Music that enables me to find a rhythmic level of peace. I’m into all kinds of music, but I have a special love for reggae, dub, and rocksteady.

Some works in progress

Where can we find you outside your studio?
Running my dogs. They need it and probably I need it, too.

If you weren’t an artist what would you do?
I used to work as a fabricator. I’m good at making things and love to make furniture. I make pieces for my own environment, because I often can’t find what I think should be out there.

“Stage Tricks” ($1,200)

Day Job?
I teach Drawing at Santa Monica College.

What do you collect?
Within my own environment I lean towards minimalism. I enjoy throwing things away; my artwork however is the exact opposite. I come from a long line of hoarders and this tendency shines through within my works: maximalist qualities and the absolute mess of a state my studio is usually in. I collect images from magazines, news papers, Johava’s Witness catalogues, department store catalogues, etc.

“Captain of Consciousness” ($6,000)

If you could have one piece of art…?
There are so many, but I would like to have a print from Utagawa Kuniyoshi like “Taira Ghost”. I like the impossible perspective and the absolute complexity of his work. There are so many bizarre moments within scale, patterns of natural and man-made objects, color, and ideas of portraying opaque and transparent. So incredibly contemporary for the mid 1800′s.

Use anything other than paint?
In addition to paint I use graphite, silkscreen, xerox transfer, and airbrush

“We Play Savages” ($1,200)

Is painting dead?
It guess it probably should be. I think the category of painting has expanded. There are so many things and so much technology that should render it useless and of course the insistence that it died many deaths over the last several decades. Perhaps all the enemies of painting push it along and enhance its mysterious lifeline. Nothing can imitate a painting.

Favorite Brush?
I use a lot of different brushes but I’m quite dependent on the cheap hardware store variety and silk-screen squeegees.

“Close Your Eyes and Count to 7000″ ($6,000)

Monet or Manet?
I like Monet for the light, atmosphere, and suggested form that I’d like to use more of, but I’m much more drawn to the darker colors and sense of social commentary in Manet’s work.

Check out all the work in Carlson Hatton’s portfolio


  1. Love the photo with you in your studio with your gorgeous dog, great patterns and energy in your work, very clever paintings.

    • P.s I see a tube of Golden paint, I am totally addicted to Goldens Self Leveling Gel, I just bought 4 liters of it, yummy.

    • carlson hatton says:

      Hi Kate,
      Thanks for your kind words. Yeah Golden is great, I like both there standard acrylic line and the open acrylics as well. 4 liters! sounds like big plans are underway.

  2. Gilbert Meza says:

    Your work is amazing and one of a kind Carlson. Very original for sure….

  3. I like the chair converted to a pencil bowl. Nice work

  4. Thanks for the peak into your studio. Love the idea of two rooms to seperate your process. Your color palette and use of lighting and highlighting in all of your work is inspiring.

  5. Barryclava says:

    have you much experience of hallucinogens? the visual complexities, forms colours and stuff are pretty trippy. that is a good thing btw – thanks for the tour!

  6. Natasha says:

    Dog is Artist too :)

  7. Jane Groover says:

    Carlson, these painting are so stunning. I cannot wait to see your work in the flesh. I love the colors, the forms, the patterns, and everything about them. I am so proud to know you and your success. Lovely portrait of you too!

  8. Richard Esparza says:

    Nice article, Carlson and nice work.

  9. Sue Hiatt says:

    How exciting to see so much of your work! I love it! The imagery is so intriguing.


  10. Sue Hiatt says:

    Just terrific. So happy to see what you’re doing. Congratulations!

  11. Jill says:

    I’m crazy about your work!

  12. Colette says:

    Why do you say painting should be dead? I disagree with you. There is room for both painting and new technology to work, if not together but at least side by side. Umm,, and you paint and draw? Can you clarify your statement a bit more clearly

  13. carol says:

    Looove your stuff!!! congratss!! keep it up!!
    Very inspiring!!


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