carolyn becker

2014 SwatchRoom Salon Emerging Artist: Carolyn Becker

We took a few minutes to sit down with recent American University Studio Art grad Carolyn Becker before her first solo exhibition at Tabula Rasa down in Eastern Market on November 6th. Becker, a young emerging artist on the DC art scene, deals with the complex yet timely ideas of fashion, beauty and societal constructs in her bright and modern collage pieces. She hopes to become a self-sustaining artist one day, and we have no doubt she'll a 4 foot, 9 inch force to be reckoned with.

ArtSee: What's the last show you saw (not yours) that inspired you? 
Carolyn Becker: This past weekend I had the opportunity to see Mia Feuer’s “An Unkindess.” I had Mia Feuer as a sculpture professor at AU several years ago and she was one of the best teacher’s I had there; she was so encouraging and open-minded. Mia showed me that sculpture could literally be anything and everything. Ever since, I have seen Mia grow fast as a popular and successful artist in the DC area, transforming materials in unimaginable ways. Whenever I am unsure about what materials to incorporate in my work, I look to hers for inspiration. 

One thing I really enjoy about Mia’s new show, is her ability to play with movement in many formats, both through the literal movement of the black ice rink, to the looming destruction if the chandelier type mass above.

AS: What's your favorite place to see art? 
CB: I love the Portrait Gallery in Chinatown. I have always been a big fan of portraiture, so this place is really the central hub of my artistic interests. Their permanent collection is outstanding, and their transitioning shows are always top notch. Another great thing about this museum is that it’s free, and right in the middle of commotion in the Chinatown neighborhood. The Portrait Gallery is a place for me to take a break from that neighborhood.

AS: Do you collect any artwork? 
CB: I do collect artwork, mostly prints. I have a super tight budget so I am really into drawing, or print trades where I trade my art for other art. I have prints and drawings from many artists throughout the country including: Aly Sims, Sarah Diamond, Torrell Arnold, Matt Hotaling, and more.

AS: What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming show at Tabula Rasa? 
CB: I look forward to finally sharing with the world my prints, drawings and paintings as a collection. I do a lot of performance art throughout the DC area, but I have always been nervous to show my works in other mediums. I am really excited to see what people think about my work, and obtain valuable feedback of how to move forward in the future.

AS: If you weren't creating art, what would you be doing? 
CB: I would be thrift shopping 24/7, trying to find the most glamorous vintage and designer clothing to wear and to resell online. I LOVE to shop! 

AS: Since you're a young artist, what advice can you give to other emerging artists like yourself? 
CB: Do whatever you want, and don’t doubt yourself. Art is whatever you want it to be, and it is integral to explore every medium as much as you can. 

AS: Favorite place to eat in DC? 
CB: Busboys and Poets. I am an indecisive eater and a vegetarian so this restaurant is the place for me. I can never decide what to eat because there are so many yummy vegetarian options that just sit there starving myself looking at the menu. Busboys is really the only place where I eat a well-balanced meal. Their sweet potato fries are the bomb.


25+ Local Artists, from Painters and Photographers to Woodworkers and Potters, will be featured during this DC Art Extravaganza

As you know from our recent posts... Our partners at SwatchRoom, the new Shaw-based creative design and fabrication studio, will host its first annual three-day SwatchRoom Salon Party March 7th through March 9th. Curated by ArtSee, an art event services agency, and hosted by Hierarchy, the newest event space by DC’s No Kings Collective, the celebration will showcase more than 35 local artists during three distinct events. The Salon Party will be accessible to all levels of art enthusiast, beginning with a showcase of affordable work from emerging artists and culminating in a private event featuring new collections from some of DC’s most sought-after artists.

Attendees must purchase tickets to the Friday and Saturday evening events on eventbrite, here:

And the complete 2014 “SwatchRoom Salon Party” Schedule of Events is...  

FRIDAY, March 7th: Introducing DC’s Best Emerging Artists
TIME: 7pm – 12am
LOCATION: Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Road, NW

To kickoff the Salon Party, a grouping of DC’s greatest emerging artists will be featured on Friday night. Each artist will display their latest work across all mediums: painting, photography, printmaking and more.

Artists will include:

Fabiano Amin
Leah Appel
Carolyn Becker
Amy Hughes Braden
Patrick Burns
Ellie Deneroff
Dominique Fierro
Jeremy Flick
Barb Januszkiewicz
Donna K. McGee
Cory Oberbndorfer
Brian Petro
Cristina Steadman
Radio Sebastian
Fawna Xiao

SATURDAY, MARCH 8th: Celebrating the District’s Favorite Artists
TIME: 7pm – 12am
LOCATION: Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Road, NW

On Saturday night, collectors will have a preview to some of their favorite artists’ and designer’s newest collections. Attendees will also enjoy live painting, music, performances, and break dancing.

Artists will include:

Gregg Deal - paintings
Kate Warren- photography
Martin Swift - paintings
Jeremy Flick - paintings
Maggie O'Neill -paintings and home goods
Cory Orbendorfer - paintings
Karen Suderman - paintings
Chris Cooley - pottery
Dominique Fierro -photography
Sophie Blake - jewelry
Allison Priebe Brooks (aka Queen Bee Designs)
James Kerns - furniture and lighting
Tariq Tucker - paintings
Carbon Vintage - furniture
McNamara Designs - furniture

We hope to see you there! 

Unwrapping Unwrapped: A Performance/Installation by Monica Jahan-Bose

This past Thursday Hillyer Art Space hosted UNWRAPPED A Post-Performance Dialogue and Dinner with the artist Monica Jahan-Bose and many other women who performed the piece with Bose at the (e)merge Art Fair. Bose describes the performance piece as such: “UNWRAPPED is inspired by the Indian mythological story of Draupadi, the eternal virgin who was married to five brothers, as well as the true story of Bose’s grandmother’s marriage at age seven. Speaking to women’s rights to education and over their own bodies, the performance involves wrapping and unwrapping the body with a 216-foot sari covered with writing by women from Bose’s grandmother’s village in Bangladesh, part of a collaboration called Storytelling with Saris.”

 The main room at Hillyer was buzzing with activity and excitement as guests and performers discussed the performance over food and drinks. The slideshow of photographs from the performance in October captured the movement and raw emotion found in the piece so for those who had missed the live showing, the energy and expression in UNWRAPPED was still quite clear.

 The performers were eager to share their experiences and the illuminating moments they felt during the show, which spoke to Bose’s intentions behind her work. The women cited the difficulty of working with the enormous sari and the brutal external conditions, including extreme heat and wind, as a source of turmoil that intertwined all the performers and made them come together to execute Bose’s vision.

 Artist and UNWRAPPED performer, Carolyn Becker explored the many cathartic moments she had with her fellow participants and the rest of the discussion members. One could really feel the sense of strength and accomplishment that the performers felt and this idea of women’s empowerment, a main focal point behind UNWRAPPED.

 After the discussion, I asked Monica if she found the egregious conditions somewhat frustrating because they caused such a tortured and pained look on her face in the photographs and added to the difficulty of the performance about vitality and emancipation. She replied that, while yes there were unforeseen complications, these added to the work. The physical difficulty enhanced the idea of women embracing and leaning on each other to better their circumstances and liberate themselves.

 The mood of the evening was festive and inspiring. Eames Armstrong, a performance artist who collaborated with Bose on UNWRAPPED, was a great host. Performance art can be a genre that is difficult to approach at times, however, the Hillyer’s event promoted a constructive dialogue between artists, performers, and attendees that was energizing and enlightening.

For more on Storytelling with Saris click here.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Mica Hartman 

Photo Credit:

Carolyn Becker at Tabula Rasa: Petite Chic

With an opening reception on November 7, 2013, Tabula Rasa presents the work of Carolyn Becker in conjunction with a performance art piece with Eames Armstrong. The exhibition will run through November 25, 2013. The unique space lends itself perfectly to a non-traditional gallery. Carolyn Becker, the fifth artist in the exhibition series, was chosen for her unique works that focus on color and exploration of fashion and female body image.

Becker works in multiple mediums including paintings, prints and drawings and uses the subject matter of self-portraiture, college, and women’s desinger fashion. She places a heavy emphasis on her love of designer fashion and vintage fashion and the way in which color and pattern play a role. Scale and body image are also critical to Becker’s work.

For the opening, Becker will join forces with DC’s performance art guru, Eames Armstrong. The pair will stage a performance art piece contending with frustrations about one’s body as it related to fashion and public commentary about personal physical characteristics. Becker says that she is  really excited to be working with Eames again on another performance piece; we have collaborated numerous times at events like Lumen8Anacostia and Soapbox at the Hillyer Art Space. I am especially excited about the piece we will perform at the opening because not only does it fuse our common interests in performance art, but also in fashion, and how facets of fashion can influence behaviors.”

For more information on Carolyn Becker, visit her website here. And for more information on the show, click here

Bringing the Art in DC to You,