Clay’s Southwestern Art


By Jona Jaupi

“There was never a time when I didn’t want to be an artist,” Carla J. Clay says in a phone interview with BTR.

Just recently, Clay quit her job to pursue a “full endeavor” in the art scene of Austin, Texas, and is “really amping things up right now to do everything full time.” The biggest risk of her life, she continues, has been to pursue her dream.

Clay, 33, was born in El Paso, Texas, but moved to Austin five years ago to work on her art, which includes hundreds of Sharpie, oil, and watercolor drawings, as well as supplementary unique woodwork framing. Staying in the Southwest is inspirational to her.

“I would say I’m influenced by a lot of Mexican and Southwest artists. They use a lot of coloring and I would describe my art in one word as ‘colorful’,” Clay says.

On her website, Outlier Art, she writes, “I often draw on my passion for horses, the desert Southwest, Central Texas, Science and my love of biochemical structures.”

The heavy influence of science in her art springs from her days in New Mexico State University, where she received a BS in biochemistry. While Clay has always created art, she did not always consider it as a career, which is why she got a degree in another field.

“There’s no book or guidelines on how to be an artist, you just kind of have to do it,” Clay explains.

Clay’s return back into the art scene is rooted in the notion that her work has the potential to spark emotions.

“It’s really interesting to hear people talk about how a piece that I’ve done makes them feel and how that’s usually different from my original intention,” Clay says.

Presently, her drawings, prints, paintings, and garments are up for sale online, some pieces selling for as much as $719.

“Every once in a while I go to some art fairs, but mostly it’s just online stuff, and it’s been doing well,” Clay says. “Actually, just yesterday I sold a piece to someone in England, so that was really awesome.”

Some of her end goals, she explains, include opening up a gallery one day, as well as learning how to successfully transfer her art from her head onto a canvas exactly as she envisions it–a feat she has yet to accomplish.

“Other than that I would just like to be able to do this full time and make a decent living off of it,” Clay reasons.

All images courtesy of Carla J. Clay.