We had the good fortune of connecting with Carla Yeatts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carla, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose the current artist path I’m on because I had a fire lit inside of me, a dream, an ambition, a hope and a glimpse of a magical little life. Thinking back, the most appealing thing to me as a kid, was to “become an artist”, but I never found a medium that really clicked with me as a kid, and as a teenager I never viewed art school as a practical choice for me, so I quickly put that idea out of my head. I did not choose to explore the idea again until my 30’s and falling into becoming a sculpture artist and monster/creature artist is something that found me rather than me ever actually envisioning it for myself. Not to sound too intense, but when I made the choice to let go of my conventional job and lifestyle in 2015 to pursue art, it really was a matter of saving my life and my future sanity. To turn my back on what I had always “had to do” to do “what I wanted to do”. So, really it chose me. Out of my own spiritual and emotional necessity. That was 2015, I was 32, and had been working for 10 years in an already creative career as a Cosmetologist. Dont get me wrong, this career gave me many wonderful rewards, including financial freedom, meaningful relationships with clients, and the satisfaction of helping people feel beautiful, empowered and confident. But for me, there was something missing, even though I had found financial success in that career and loved my clients very dearly, my heart and spirit were yearning for something more fulfilling. My heart and spirit were yearning to dedicate my life and time to something more authentic and something that aligned more closely to my own personal imagination and desires. Not just something I enjoyed, but something that I felt truly passionate about. For me that has always been monsters. It was scary giving up the job security I spent a decade building, but there was no choice, I had to explore this chance and this dream I had deferred in my youth. I initially approached my “career change” to get into the special makeup effects business, maybe get a job in a props shop or amusement park, or be a makeup artist for horror films, and to be honest, I never thought that I was or would be any good at “traditional art”, so when I discovered oil based clay, namely polymer clay in 2016 I was hooked. I instantly fell in love with this medium and it turned out that I had a natural knack for sculpting. And more importantly, it turned out that when I gave myself a chance to explore, to be “a kid again”, to learn, fail, try again, fail better and then start to see some real progress, it really clicked with me and I thought “I think I found what I want to do”. I was 34, and I decided that I didn’t want to get into the sfx business, but rather take the chance and to pursue being a full-time independent artist and create the things I loved as a kid and continue to love: monsters and creatures. So really, what I’m doing now, being a sculpture artist/doll-artist and monster maker chose me. Intuition, ambition, and not settling for less than I ultimately wanted/want out of life.. these are the things that paved the path to discovering it and manifesting it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Sculpture Artist specializing in One-of-a-kind figurative sculptures and mixed media Artdolls. I’ve always had a passion and adoration for monsters, and my creatures are largely inspired by the horror and fantasy genres, as well as stories from folklore & mythology. One of the main things that sets me apart, especially in the genres of what I create, is that all of my sculptures are original, one of a kind, hand-sculpted pieces. I do not make molds, casts, or copies/recreations of my sculptures, so they truly are One of a Kind. Everything is hand-crafted and created by me, from sculpting, painting, sewing clothing, cutting and hand-laying hair, accessories and props,etc. I guess to speak to both challenges and the thing I’m most proud of.. is that everything to do with my art and my business, I do myself. This includes not just creating my art, but photographing my pieces, editing, websites, marketing, sales, shipping, correspondence, etc. I am a one woman operation. It takes a lot of time, and often half of my “working time” is devoted to things outside of actually making art. It definitely is more than a full-time job, but I’m proud to devote myself fully to learning and trying to master all aspects of my craft. I can definitely see why people have assistants though! 😛 Some lessons I’ve learned (and continuing to learn) over the past couple years of doing this is to : -Manage expectations, including shows/sales: ie never take anything personally, don’t get discouraged or be hard on myself if things don’t turn out as desired. -Enjoy the process more, surrender to the process including creative frustrations, blocks, learning, challenges, mistakes. -Progress cannot be rushed. Only practice and time will foster improved technique and creativity. Simply do the best you can, every time. -There is NOTHING that cant be fixed! (Glue, epoxy and sandpaper can save you.) Also, Don’t be scared of not knowing what the hell you are doing sometimes. I always figure it out and gain new skills. And that feels great. -Enjoy successes, but quickly move on. Be your own biggest critic, but don’t beat yourself up. Always strive to improve. -Surrender to and be open to the realm of “pure potentiality”. This is where your creative potential lives and manifests from. Be open to what opportunities the universe and the world has to offer. -Try not to take things too seriously..life and art are meant to be enjoyed. Enjoy your life, stay open, grateful and grounded. The rest will always fall into place. Good or bad, moods will always change, circumstance will always change.. nothing stays the same. Don’t be afraid. Just be grateful and enjoy the ride.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, Im currently in Austin and you can’t visit Austin without going to go witness the famous ‘Bat Bridge’ at Congress Ave at dusk. I love bats, they are so adorable and an important species and its truly amazing to see this huge colony off in flight at dusk! I especially love the boat tours to see the bats. The Braken Bat Cave near San Antonio is also a magical must see bat event! As I mentioned before, another stop would be one of my favorite places in Austin, the ‘Museum of the Weird’. Its not your typical oddities/curiosities attraction, it is independently owned and full of cool items for classic sideshow culture and classic horror fans. A fun little “freak show” included with the tour and I’m proud to say, even a little section of the museum with a display of my art! As far as restaurants, one of my favorite spots, Citizen Eatery for an awesome brunch and the Vegan Yacht for great burrito wraps. Atx Food Co is also yummy and I love ordering coffee from The Kava Bar and hanging out outside while waiting on food . The Buzzmill is a great spot for hanging out late night and they have a laid back outdoor area, good coffee, drinks and host a couple of my favorite food trucks: Lil Nonnas and Plow Burger. Possum Park is also another cool stop, it hosts an array of Vegan food trucks, Zucchini Kill Bakery (the cream coffins are to die for) and my favorite little shop in Austin, Yarrow and Sage for some edgy/earthy goods. A stop at Skull and Cake Bones on the weekend for amazing cupcakes and bites, and maybe a stop by Nada Moo for some icecream, I love that they stay open late night. An afternoon of hiking up Enchanted Rock maybe, or some time strolling or lounging at the Botanical Gardens or Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower park, both so beautiful and peaceful. We would probably hang out and catch a dj/dark dance night at Elysium or a show at Come and Take it Live too. And The Alamo Drafthouse is always a great goto for a movie and awesome veg. pizza. Terra Toys would be another fun stop to take them too before they go. It is literally the coolest “toy store” I’ve ever been into. So many cool, creative and quirky things for both kids and adults. Maybe round it out with a coffee and treat at Fat Cats bakery.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ll premise this with saying, he hates me giving him any credit, but I wouldn’t be where I am today, both creatively and emotionally if it weren’t for the love, support and encouragement of my sweet husband. When we were dating, and I was having my “early midlife crisis” (haha), he not just encouraged me to explore my dreams and desires about pursuing art, but really helped push me to quit my job when I was weary about the “practical implications” of doing that. He has been my rock and my biggest cheerleader all along the way. He’s been there for me like no one ever has been and he believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself. He has shown me an unparalleled level of love, support, selflessness and respect and he strives every day to be by my side on this journey of happiness and success. He is my best friend and I’m so grateful for him. Thank you baby for helping me manifest my dreams. I love you. I’d also like to give a shoutout to Robert Tatum for offering me and hosting my first solo art show at his gallery Choice Goods Gallery in San Antonio, Texas in 2019. This was such a special thing to me, and he, his family and crew couldn’t have made it more beautiful or perfect. It really was a dream come true. Also, a big shoutout to Steve Busti, the owner and curator of the ‘Museum of the Weird’, in downtown Austin Texas. I met Steve at an event I was vending at in 2018, where he purchased a piece of art from me. Since then he has become a collector of my work and has even curated/installed a beautiful display of my sculptures inside ‘The Museum of the Weird’! I am so honored by this, and it feels so special to be a part of the collection at what was already my favorite attraction and one of the coolest little spots in Austin. Im definitely looking forward to working on future projects with him and the museum. 🙂 And I can’t leave without a shoutout to MonsterCon & Laurie Gonzales in San Antonio. She has been so supportive in promoting my work since I joined with the Texas community a couple years ago. MonsterCon 2018 was really my debut show and the horror community and people there have always been so awesome and supportive of me as well. And ofcourse, I also wouldn’t be where I am without my fans and collectors. I’d like to thank my customers, collectors/clients, gallery and online curators, anyone and everyone who has supported my art and my journey. By purchasing or commissioning a piece, sharing my work, giving me a kind word or compliment, it has all helped me grow and persevere and I appreciate each and every person. Thank you all! And to my fellow artist friends and creatives, you all keep me so inspired and strong. There is an unspoken connection, support and understanding when you are a part of such a community, and I feel fortunate and honored to call many of you my friends. Much love. (And I’ll even give (a little) credit to the haters, seems like there are always those types in life, but even they help me appreciate (even more) the opportunities this world has to offer when you stay genuine and just “rise above drama or negativity”. )