Featured Artist: M Carlisle

We are so excited to feature artist M Carlisle! They are a Tucson-based illustrator and sculptor whose bold colors and brightly dynamic style emanate vibrant life.

Where are you from?

Born and raised Arizonan! I grew up in AJ (Apache Junction), and went to high school in Casa Grande, commuting from Maricopa until I came to Tucson in 2012 for college. My family still lives in AJ, in the same house 💗

What got you started making art?

I’m not sure…I think that childlike tendency to do it all never left, and since then it’s been my sole passion, literally my lifeblood. Been super lucky to have a mom who has always supported me in what I’ve wanted to do, especially my art, and I grew up going to art fairs and museums and state parks, and doing crafts and going on walks and hikes… It’s been a constant presence and I hope to maintain that until I die, honestly.

What’s your artistic background? (experience, education, etc.)

Well I did art a lot as a kid, but really got serious about it in 2006 when I discovered,,,InuYasha! Haha, for real~ Manga was a huge jumpstart for me as an illustrator, and every time I had the opportunity to take an art class I would. Drew like the wind up to college, where I got a Bachelor’s in Studio Art (with a minor in Gender Studies 🤘) at the U of A! Did a lot of painting in there, although I have to admit I still have so much to learn about it- it’s my current pursuit and personal mystery I need to solve. My focus has always been traditional art, although recently I got an iPad so I can try out Procreate! Throughout college I also attended many lectures and workshops on art, read many books and comics and watched a lot of videos, and more recently began vending at art fairs. I won an art contest or two as a kid but my experience has always been low-key, from a student’s perspective! I look at everything even like it has something to teach me.

Who or what are your biggest artists’ influences?

Oh man…hard to say anything specific. Usually if I need added structure, or a solid idea, I look to the Sonoran desert! For color combos, or composition, or just to get something to look natural. As far as artists and art that have a clear impact…CLAMP, Kosuke Fujishima, Hayao Miyazaki, Leigh Ellexson, any old fairytale book illustrations or retro game manuals, architecture and interior design. Also botanical guides!

Where do you get your inspiration for your art?

Oh everywhere lmao. Nowadays, mainly instagram, youtube, or nature (again)! I go through cycles of specific inspiration…at the moment I enjoy borders, big chunky markers/crayons, fonts. Artists that currently have inspired me…CROM, sunsspills.jpeg, tattoo artists, posters or calendars or sculpture- ahhh I really wanna make more sculpture actually! I have messed up wrists so I can’t really do ceramics…so I usually use polymer clay. I’ve got experience in carpentry though- used to go to Home Depot as a kid to make stuff in workshops.

Anything else?

I’m super open to doing art with other artists, and I have a lot of resources and love to share! Feel free to dm me if you need a second opinion, or are looking for further inspo, or want to go to more local stuff~ I’m yer guy!

What brought you to BICAS?

My bike! I worked for Jimmy John’s as a delivery cyclist for a while, and it sort of brought me one foot in to the cycling community. I’m disabled I can’t really work on it myself, but I adore the community aspect, the reusing, the art, and the “we help us” attitude. I support that stuff wholeheartedly, so as soon as I came across it I’ve been steadily coming to more and more stuff!

How has BICAS affected you?

I think it’s definitely gotten me out of the house more, in healthy selfless ways. And I hoard and declutter always so I’ve been able to donate quite a bit, free up space and help others. I’ve also done two art marts with BICAS so far, and that’s helped me get more involved with other Tucson artists and the art community here!

Why did you work with BICAS at Art Mart?

As an anarchist, I’m a big believer in supporting and putting resources/energy towards local community. So generally, when I’m looking to get involved, I tend towards smaller organizations- like choosing to publish independently or self-publish instead of using an established company. BICAS is just doing the kind of stuff I want people to pay attention to, to help them continue doing all the wonderful things they do! And I’ll keep applying as long as they keep hosting~

Check out their Website and Instagram for more of their work!

Click the images for full size!