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(Image courtesy of Carrie Milburn)

Artist of the Week: Carrie Milburn

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I’ve always been creative. At the age of five I was drawing pictures and going door-to-door selling them for a nickel. I’ll never forget how excited I was to come home with a little change in my pocket. It wasn’t until about five years ago, however, that I made a commitment to my art (I am 47 now). Since then I have been making up for lost time. Besides acrylic I occasionally work in watercolor. Sometimes I make garden art from cement. Sometimes I upcycle things.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
The process always involves music. Some days it’s the blues, other days it’s punk rock. Depends on my mood and the piece I’m working on. If I’m painting a musician I will listen to their music, watch interviews with them and documentaries about their lives. I paint on both wood and canvas and the process is different for each. I have a few different painting styles because I get bored easily. I go into each painting with an idea, but never really a complete game plan. I like to create as I go. I want to feel free when I create, not confined to staying in the lines and such.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from rock and roll, that’s probably obvious. My dad turned me on to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin at a young age and my love for music has only intensified over the years. I have to name Peter Max as a huge influence as well. His early psychedelic works always captivated me as a child. I love his use of color.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Musicians of all sorts, pop culture icons and pets! If you really want to get specific, my favorite thing to paint is the eyes. If you can nail the eyes you can nail the painting.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I painted a Chris Cornell collage on a 4’ tall canvas right after his passing. It featured him at various stages in his life, from the time Soundgarden began to just before his untimely death.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I think my art has affected my life, rather than the other way around. I like to think of painting as a sort of meditation. It’s so therapeutic. It calms my anxieties and gives me inner peace, something I lacked for many years.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I have an upcoming art show show coming up at Dick’s Drive In on Queen Anne on 12/18/19. You can also find my work on my website, Instagram or Facebook.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
With the holidays quickly approaching it's pet portrait season for me! Along with musicians and pop culture icons, I paint pet portraits on hand made wood pieces. I call them “mini pallets”. I already have a queue and plan on being booked out through the beginning of the year. It’s a great feeling.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Can you believe I recently quit coffee and caffeine!? I had a headache for a week. I’m all about tea now. Green tea with a smidge of unsweetened almond milk, please.