JASON CARLTON, Hole in the Wall, Metallic Gallery Wrap, $190
Art exists all around us, and as surprising as it may be, artists appear when we least expect it. We tend to have preconceived notions of what it means to be an artist. We imagine a slender, mustachioed gentleman working in a Parisian studio, smoking like a chimney, and living in squalor to support his need to create. Yet, some of the greatest artists live seemingly normal lives and may even have other jobs.
JASON CARLTON, Sunrise at Horseshoe Bend, $350
I was lucky enough to come across such an artist, Jason Carlton, while working on another post. Carlton works as a Social Media Specialist for Intermountain Healthcare and also is a talented photographer. His works appear in the current Sandy Art Show and can be found for sale on Etsy and his website. Carlton’s works vary from scenes of the Utah landscape, to natural phenomenon, to space, and to lego figures. Many of his photographs lend themselves to motivational posters.
JASON CARLTON, A Little Lady at the Piano
In communicating with Carlton, I discovered what first lead to his passion for photography. The artist responded, “I don’t recall what first inspired my interest, but I have enjoyed seeing what I could create with a camera since before I could drive. I recall wanting to get my Photography Merit Badge at a Boy Scouts of America event, and when I saw some photos of lightning, I really wanted to try and capture a photo like that myself. A few years later, I was given a Yashica-brand SLR from my parents and worked to photograph whatever I could– or at least what my meager budget could afford, since I had to pay for each and every exposure on my 35mm roll of film. I learned how to develop my own black and white roll of film in my grandma’s bathroom (because there were no windows, reducing the risk of accidental exposure). I later learned how to print my own black and white photos in my dad’s basement. I was able to use his darkroom equipment from decades earlier. As technology changed and I was able to transition to digital photography, I began taking a lot more photos since I could instantly see how the photo was going to look.”
JASON CARLTON, Lego Jeep Captured on a Sandy Ledge
Yet, is photography the only medium that Carlton prefers? “While I love photography, I also enjoy the challenges of video, as well as graphic design. Back in high school, I would do a few video projects for the school and, at times, for work as well. I’ve done family videos to document my own family each year, and I worked for a video production company about twelve years ago doing primarily wedding videos. At my current job, I enjoy creating videos for a variety of projects– stroke awareness, breast cancer awareness, and healthcare in general.”
JASON CARLTON, I Have Not Failed, $75
Such diverse interests also appear within the variety of subject matter in his photographs. Space proves of particular importance. “Since seeing that first photograph of lightning, I have been fascinated with night photography. Long-exposure circumpolar photos are a challenge and something I try to capture anytime I am out camping. I think that interest in photographing the stars and the moon drove my interest in space. My ultimate photography excursion would be a week in space to photograph the earth from a long way up. It would present a whole new set of challenges to capture long-exposure photos from a moving vehicle, but I would love every minute of it, unless I got motion sick!”
Scenes from around Utah and nature represent other important subjects in Carlton’s photography. Why?
“I love to travel, and I love photography. Utah is full of great picturesque places that are very accessible, either by car, foot, or a combination of the two. I love the challenge of capturing a scene that someone enjoys looking at and that ultimately makes them want to travel there to see it for themselves.”
JASON CARLTON, Split Rock, $300
What message does the artist want to offer viewers through his photographs? “I haven’t really thought about the messages I hope to convey. The subjects in my photos vary widely – landscape photos, Legos, architecture, stars, long exposure, flowers, a little portraiture, and whatever else I think I can capture through my lens. I really just hope when people see my photo, whatever it is of, they can see my take on a given subject.”
Despite Carton’s talent for photography, he also has another job. Art proves a difficult product to sell in our current economy. In commenting on this aspect, Carlton reveals, “I have a full time job that I really enjoy. Photography is a hobby of mine that I’ve really started to focus on in the last few years. In the past year, I’ve been trying to sell some of my photos to see if I can earn a few extra dollars, but selling photos isn’t something that just happens. In my ‘spare time’ I try to capture photos that I might be able to turn into a photo that would interest someone enough to purchase. I also hope to capture photos and write up how I captured it so other photographers can get ideas or try new techniques that maybe they haven’t tried before. I’m glad I have my day job so I can keep playing with and exploring my photography, and maybe one day I will be able to sell enough photos to cover the expenses of my expensive hobby.”
JASON CARLTON, Where Flowers Bloom, $75
Yet, what advice does Carlton have for burgeoning artists? “I think one of the best ways to learn more about your own art style is to network with others. I follow a few photography groups on Facebook. We issue photo challenges, share photos for critique, and chat about best practices for those who have their own photography business. As I’ve continued learning, I have also sought to share my knowledge with other photographers because many of us learn by doing, and working with fellow photographers helps me to learn more about my camera, what appeals to others’ eye, and additional techniques that I can try to improve my own work.”
JASON CARLTON, Fun Photography: On the Way to the Harvest Moon
To experience more of Jason Carlton’s works, refer to his website at: http://carltonaut.com. To purchase his photographs, go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Carltonaut.