We had the good fortune of connecting with Carla Falb and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carla, how have you been keeping yourself busy during quarantine?
During this quarantine, like most teachers and professors throughout our country, I’ve had to transition to teaching remotely. I have taught art over thirty years and what I love most about my job as a professor at Fullerton College, is spending time with my students, getting to know them, and teaching creative skills that have been so important to me in my life as an artist. While I really miss being in the classroom, I’ve decided to make the best of our current situation, and have kept myself busy making YouTube videos of my teaching demonstrations. It really took some getting used to; I love a live audience in the classroom, and enjoy performing! Now I set up my camera in my studio to record my still life drawing and design demonstrations, knowing my students will be watching me later in their homes. I think the best thing about making videos is that I can speed up my demonstrations on iMovie (so my students don’t become bored), record voice overs, add music, and insert photos showing students what I am actually seeing when I am sighting and measuring – important skills for representational drawing. Whenever we get back to the classroom, these videos will continue to serve my students well – they will be able to watch my demos multiple times at their convenience, to reinforce their learning. Who knows, maybe other students around the world will find my videos on YouTube and benefit from them as well. I am happy to share! Actually this is not my first time making videos. About twenty years ago, when I lived in Salem, Massachusetts, I used to produce educational shows for public access television with my students featuring local landmarks, like the House of Seven Gables. At that time we were using videotape. I remember spending days tediously editing videotape on antiquated equipment – what I can now accomplish in a couple hours on a computer! I never would have guessed that twenty years later, producing digital videos would enable me to continue teaching my students during a global pandemic! It seems like everything I learned editing those videotapes in Salem prepared me for this moment.
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 have been making paintings based on roller coaster structures since 2002. All of my work is based on photos that I take while riding in the front car. This idea was inspired by the legend of J. M. W. Turner, who insisted on experiencing a storm at sea by being tied to the mast of a ship, so he could later capture that feeling in his paintings. To the casual viewer, my roller coaster series depicts mere amusements, yet my underlying intention is to reveal the sacred in the profane. The rides serve as icons of our contemporary culture; reflecting the energy and complexity of our lives, as well as symbolizing our desire to escape everyday reality and overcome our fears; experiencing sheer exhilaration while living in the moment. The most recent iteration of my Roller Coaster Series are paintings that are based on photos I took while riding the West Coaster and the Pacific Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier at night. These paintings focus on light streams shining through the darkness, and mark my return to painting after my mom’s death on Christmas in 2016. The light in my work provides glimpses of eternity – our connection with spirit.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The campus of Fullerton College where I teach is absolutely beautiful; I highly recommend musical and theatrical events there, and we have a wonderful Art Gallery that is open to the public. A lovely place to take a walk, or have a picnic is the Fullerton Arboretum on the campus of Cal State Fullerton — a 26-acre botanical garden with plants from around the world. I would also like to give a shoutout to my favorite restaurants in Fullerton: Fuoco Pizzeria, Les Amis, Café Rialto, The Olde Ship, The Matador Cantina, and of course – cocktails at The Cellar!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to Don, my husband of over thirty years, as well as my Mom, Dad, Mor Mor (Swedish grandmother), and family in spirit. I am forever grateful for their love and unwavering support. Shoutouts to my mentor Eileen Neff at the University of the Arts, as well as inspirational artists that I have had the pleasure of connecting with like Kehinde Wiley @kehindewiley, Damian Loeb @damian.loeb, Alyssa Monks @alyssamonksart, and Jessica Craig-Martin @jcraigmartin who I worked with at the Atlantic Center for the Arts @atlanticcenterforthearts. I would like to send a special shoutout to my art coach Bridgette Mayer @bmartadvisors and @bmayergallery who helped me fall in love with painting again after the death of my mom. Shoutouts to former students that have become dear friends and artists – Rita Leduc @ritaleduc, Marisa Keris @marisakeris and @farmerladyflowers, and Caitlin Reid @loose_trance. A shoutout to my best friend and former teaching partner in New Jersey, Wendell Jeffrey. Shoutouts to the Dean of Fine Arts at Fullerton College – John Tebay, as well as to my colleagues and friends in the art department: Deborah Davidson @deborahdavidsonartist, Jim Dowdalls, Megan Debin @theprofd, Carol Henke @artchocolatetravel, Kristin Mihaylovich @profmihay, Todd Smith @pressworksart, Klutch Stanaway @klutchstanaway, and Vonn Sumner @vonnsumner. Finally, another special shoutout to my spiritual mentor Priya Jain @seventhchakrayoga for her acceptance, encouragement, and understanding.