What’s your ritual to get prepared, or in the zone, to create?
It’s essential to have a clear work space and all the tools I need. For me, that’s an architect’s scale and paper and ink. Even though I’m well versed in computer rendering software, all of my creative ideas start with hand-drawn sketches and drafting. When I’m starting a new project, I like to work in the morning after a good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast, and a good cup of coffee. I typically sift through all of the needs and wants of the client for a few days prior to working and try to always look for inspiration through design publications, real-world architecture, and keeping my eyes open at all times!
Which artist, historic or contemporary, from any discipline, couldn’t you live without?
William Morris. He propelled the Arts & Crafts movement forward and helped set the stage for modern American art and design. By blurring the lines between artistry and craftsmanship, the traditional method of strict rules in design became optional.
Tell us about a time you failed.
I fail every day! That may sound grim, but failing is a big part of learning and moving forward. Being brave enough to try new things (and abandon them if they’re not working) is what quality and original design is all about. We have to walk that line between daring and doable in order to produce great work.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you want to do professionally?
I’ve come to enjoy the business side of design, so I love the idea of helping other designers streamline their business practices for the overall betterment of the industry. I come from educators on both sides of my family, so I would love to teach later on down the road as well.
Favorite addiction or guilty pleasure that keeps you inspired?
I’m a sucker for design magazines. Architectural Digest is my tried and true mag, and I love Dwell magazine. I think it’s great to read about something completely out of your realm, too, so sometimes I’ll pick up Popular Mechanics and you can’t go wrong with Vogue—they have the most amazing editorial photographs and textiles to drool over.
Name the one place in Nashville you go for inspiration or rejuvenation.
Bongo Java or Fido. I love to start the day with reading a great magazine in a bustling coffee shop because that energy will stick with you for a few hours after you leave.
What implement or tool in your “toolbox” as an artist do you love or depend on most?
My architect’s scale. I would not be able to determine the correct scale and proportions without it! Interior design is just as much of a science as it is an art, so without precision and planning you might as well forget it!
What do your parents think about your being an artist?
They both appreciate the arts and respect what I am doing with my life. My business is still in its fledgling stages, but they are proud that I’m always taking on new challenges and doing everything I can to make it work.
What does success look like to you?
Success for me means feeling happy and maybe a little tired at the end of the day, and also feeling excited and energized when I wake up in the morning.
What advice do you most often give yourself or other artists?
Everything is temporary. If things aren’t going great, first understand that this too shall pass. Secondly, reach out to others for support and guidance when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you have a strong and positive community around you, it helps to gain outside perspective and reach a solution more effectively.
Where in the world have you gone where you feel most at home as an artist?
I am fortunate enough to have a home office. It’s great to have my dog and cat hanging out with me while I’m working, and also great to be able to shut the door and walk away when I need to recharge. Having this home base makes me feel very grounded and able to take on new challenges.
What space at Watkins do you particularly love to be in and why?
I love the cafe during slower hours; there’s so much natural light and the view of the water is calming.
When do you know a piece is finished?
When my client is thrilled! I try to get everything right the first time, but things can change, and it’s typical to make a few adjustments to each project before everyone is completely satisfied and ready to sign off. A few revisions here and there are essential to the creative process.
Which has been your favorite course at Watkins?
Art history with Tom Williams. Studying the development of the arts over time and their relationship to history is fascinating. On top of that, Tom is a great lecturer and really knows his stuff!
Why does art matter?
Art elevates life and injects power and emotion into the everyday.
Biggest myth about being an artist?
“Your job must be so fun!” Yes, it is fun, and very rewarding! The reality of the situation is that I spend just as much time (if not more) maintaining a business and pushing myself to learn about my industry as I do being an artist. There are many hats you need to wear if you want to be successful and keep the workflow moving.
Which one quality do you think the world most needs from artists?
Honesty and bravery. It’s a very scary thing to put your ideas out there, and to truly deliver your best consistently. We have a unique voice and sometimes you have to really fight for your ideas and for what you think is right, or an idea that needs to be heard. I have a strong personal drive to forward my mission of sustainable design, so I feel like being honest and educating people about why it’s important, and being brave about pursuing it, are my two biggest and most important challenges moving forward.
Before opening the doors to MOTIV Interiors in 2017, she has worked in the offices of fellow Watkins alumnae Jessica Davis (JL Design), Marcelle Guilbeau, and Connie Vernich. Caro also serves as the 2018 Emerging Professional Chair on the Tennessee Chapter of ASID (The American Society of Interior Designers) and is an active member of TWIG (Tennessee Women in Green). She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in interior design with a concentration in sustainability from Watkins. You can also follow her on Instagram.