Carla Hamilton's Keller Kunst exhibit closed on Friday, drawing many esteemed local artists and art enthusiasts from the Duluth area to the Robert Powless Cultural Center. Carla's pieces are ornate, working with a wide variety of mediums and topics, and each is a deeply personal window into the artist's fascinating journey. The exhibit ran from 5:30-7:30, with refreshments and a casual but communal atmosphere. Carla herself could be seen speaking individually with almost everyone in attendance, although she preferred not to make a speech on stage, staying at a more personal level of dialogue and interaction.
Like many great artists, Carla Hamilton's art comes from the heart, and she shared some insights into her inspiration, life experience, and creative process. Carla, born and raised in Duluth, later went on to spend twenty years working and living in Germany, and many of her works are influenced by German language and culture. In several of her collages (although Carla's work is detailed and multifaceted enough that the label of "collage" doesn't do them justice) the artist incorporates the work's titles, and several contain titles or messages in German. One in particular has a background made almost entirely of maps, all from Germany.
Upon returning to the U.S, Carla's work changed somewhat. One more recent piece was a gallery of disapproving masks, entitled Neighbors, in which the artist criticized the patronizing, passive-aggressive attitudes that mark Minnesotan subcultures. "It made people uncomfortable," mentioned Carla, adding that positive change tended to grow from that discomfort.
As the brief interview concluded, Carla considered her creative process and the influence this multicultural experience has had on her. Learning the art of balancing a creative lifestyle and learning from many sources has been her focus since before her time and Germany, and she believes now she's just about got it right. "I still don't know where I belong," said Carla with a smile. "At this point, I don't really care."