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Interior Design meets the Expressionist Artwork by local artist, Debi Carson

debi painting

Artists’ Corner: Debi Carson – Senior Interior Designer and Caribbean Art Expressionist

Photography courtesy of the artist

Many of us see ourselves as either a creative right-brained or a logical left-brained individual, and although our talents may overlap in these hemispheres, we tend to focus our vocations around a path which directs us one way or another. For those who know Debi Carson, this theory is disproven, as she is a woman who has excelled in careers both creatively as a contemporary artist, and technically as an interior designer.

     Returning to VIPY for her third time, Debi was born and raised in a rural area north of Houston, Texas by her father, an architectural draftsman, and her mother, a baker and arts & crafts enthusiast. “As a child I grew up in pastoral surroundings and always loved bright colours, wildlife, and playing outdoors,” said Debi.

     Her formal education was received at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, and became certified in this field. Debi explained that the importance of receiving professional qualifications in interior design is it involves more than just arranging the aesthetic appeal of a space; it’s also the design and ergonomics of the layout to create an environment that’s safe and comfortable for those who inhabit it.

     Decorating is also a major part of Debi’s current career, as she is hired to select colours and furnishings to adorn rooms and buildings. The skills of her visual artistry have also led to rewarding jobs, as she has excelled in projects ranging from paintings on canvas to unique crafts.

     Debi has resided on Tortola since 2001 and has used the beauty of the Caribbean as the inspiration for her abstract artwork, applying the influence of vibrant colours and luscious tropical surroundings to her expressionist style.

debi at design work

Watercolour Project in Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan American Games

The Textile Museum of Canada created a cultural project this year to be shared at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan American Games entitled ‘Watercolour.’ It will showcase artwork from 41 Pan American countries who participate in the games. Paintings from mid-level artists will animate the sails of boats, participating in the sailing races during the event. Through the internet, the museum found Debi’s art-work and invited her to contribute one of her paintings to represent the British Virgin Islands.

     “My chosen piece—Neon Energy—reflects the vitality created by neon colours and to me, it generates the vigour I believe the BVI will represent in the games this fall,” said Debi.

neon energy

Caribbean Critter Painting Series

Debi describes herself as whimsical, and so her Caribbean Critter paintings reflect that; this is an ongoing series of over a dozen canvases featuring local animals. The unique aspect of these paintings is that Debi places the island animals in juxtaposition with activity or relations which seem out of the ordinary, yet somehow seem logical in the BVI. For example, a monkey riding a bike with his feet while eating a banana, and a dog riding the waves on a surfboard.

     “These paintings are designed to evoke emotions of joy and happiness and are targeted for ‘the young and the young at heart,’” said Debi, as the Critter Series have been installed in children’s bedrooms, upscale villas, and private yachts.

see level critter

Installation of Paintings at Peter Island Resort & Spa

One of Debi’s collections to date is an installation of paintings in the rooms at the resort on Peter Island. Her working relationship with Peter Island began in 2004 when Debi proposed her expertise as an interior designer on the renovations to the spa.

     In 2006-2007, she offered her design services on a ‘soft goods’ renovation of the ocean-view and beachfront rooms, updating the colour palettes and modernising the furnishings. Later, she was fortunate enough to contribute 200+ paintings which featured bright abstract reflections of sea life and our surroundings.

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coco nutz 

Teaching Art at Killi Killi

In September 2014, Debi became involved with Killi Killi Arts Company, a growing group and resource within the community which offers classes for adults and children in artistic disciplines. Debi is the teacher of two visual art classes for younger children ages 5-9, and older youth ages 10-15 which focus on the exploration of art through varying materials, methods, colour and texture.

     In closing, Debi admitted “I have found the little ones love anything messy and hands on…we have such fun!” She concluded that sharing her love of abstract and expressionist artwork is by far the most rewarding part of her career.

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Lauren Charley

Lauren Charley

Writer at aLookingGlass
Lauren graduated with an Honours B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has worked as a feature magazine writer, where many of her stories pertained to events, people, activities, and places in popular tourist destinations.

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