The Nature Of: Tracy Carlson Photography

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Enjoy!

Our very first questionnaire is being answered by Heartmade co-founder Tracy Carlson. Don't be afraid, just hang on for the ride and try to ignore the swear words. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being able to have an animal sanctuary and collect as much art as I want. I'd be the best rich person, I'd buy ALL THE ART!

Which living person do you most admire?

Right now I'd have to say Emma González, the young student from Parkland who survived a school shooting and is advocating for gun control. She stands up to all the bullies, including our president, and that is amazing. This is the kind of kid that I want leading our world as the old guard dies off.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Handmade jewelry, without a doubt. I have a thing about giant statement pieces. Anything I buy from my friend Adina Mills is a welcome extravagance. My friends and family know that with me, bigger is always better.

What is your current state of mind?

I designed a t-shirt that says "NO FUCKS LEFT TO GIVE" and that's where I am. I'm standing up for what I believe, no matter what it looks like. I'm not getting dragged down in the mud of competition and pettiness. I'm going to help people and try to take a more macro view of the world as opposed to letting myself get tied up in the little things. We're the stuff of stars, right? None of this matters, so let's make it positive instead of negative while we're here.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Humility. Hell, if you're good at something, crow about it. I mean don't be a dick, but I think one of the reasons men are in control is because women are too humble about our accomplishments. Damn straight I took that photo, and it's good. Thank you for the compliment. No more blushing and looking away and saying "Oh it's not that great."

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Whatever I dislike is up to me to fix so there's no point in talking about it.

What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Here's the thing...
I'm-a tell you something...
Can you STAND it?

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Paul McCartney. I mean, clearly my husband Daniel, but Paul McCartney is the longest love of my life. Daniel and I have an understanding that if there was ever a knock on the door and it was Paul I would leave. LOL

But seriously, it's Daniel.

When and where were you happiest?

Okay so this is repetitive but the last time Paul McCartney was in town Daniel got me tickets and I had never seen him in concert before and I laughed/cried/sang for three straight hours. It was the best night of my life.

The place where I am most consistently happy is on top of Mount Crested Butte, in Colorado. It has a part of my heart and I feel whole when I'm there.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Playing the guitar. NO, painting. design. No, guitar.

Talk to me tomorrow.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Tricky tricky because I am who I am because of what I am, so if I change something am I still me? Can I just juice up my metabolism and keep my obnoxious personality? Let's do that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

No joke, Heartmade. I get to help a wonderful charity AND I get to promote people who I adore. Cheesy but 100% true.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

Nope, this is my last go-round. I've already come back plenty of times.

Where would you most like to live?

Tuscany, maybe outside Siena.

What is your most treasured possession?

My engagement/wedding ring that originally belonged to my grandmother, Boo.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My energy.

What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty and authenticity above anything and everything.

Who are your favorite artists?

Oh hell, that's way too hard. All of my friends are my favorites, their art is all over my house. Pick a name off of the Heartmade list. For someone I don't know personally, I'm currently crushing hard on Adrian Landon Brooks. His work makes my heart happy. Now, if we're talking dead artists, I have to be a cliche and say that Botticelli is a favorite of mine. I have a relationship with the "Birth of Venus." The first time I saw it in person I was changed. Now whenever I visit the Uffizi I have to visit that painting and sit with it for as long as I need to. It's like a friend. I can't explain it.

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

Erick Sandlin's work speaks to my soul because it's so expressive. Reagan Gore and I share some sort of DNA link or something because she'll paint things that look like photos I've shot and she's never seen the piece before, and I find myself looking at her pieces like I'm looking through a lens. Marisa Wilhelmi and I share a love for bright color and her jewelry makes me want to travel and find photos that match the colors in her jewelry. I haven't met her in person yet but I feel like Sarah Luna paints my personality on canvas and it rocks my world. JC Woods' work ethic is something that constantly blows my mind and we have a very similar sense of humor, so his work really makes me happy. 

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Mozart: Crazy, talented, terrible with money, and a pain in the butt to live with.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Firefighters and conservationists.

What are your favorite names?

Indy, Emma, and Jack.

What is your motto?

"Get busy living or get busy dying." Seriously, I have no time or patience for people who want to moan about problems that they can fix but choose not to. Get busy living.