Featured Artist: Caroline Dare

Caroline Dare

For many artists, the question of how to create in the era of climate change is difficult to answer. Caroline Dare has some ideas. Caroline is a 25-year-old American photographer currently living in New Zealand. Her body of work ranges from monochrome portraits to colorful, almost surrealistic scenes, from carefully composed pieces to fleeting moments captured on film. On her social media, the dreamy atmosphere created by her photographs is accompanied by her wise, soothing words on the climate emergency, veganism, and sustainability. In a word, Caroline Dare provides us with a fresh gaze over reality through a subtle balance of consciousness and escapism.

Caroline Dare

How would you describe your artistic style?
pinks and yellows and blushing and kissing

What inspires you to create?
I’m quite sensitive so, pretty much everything around me inspires me. Feeling in love, feeling deeply happy, feeling high off life, feeling elated, feeling anxious, feeling concerned, feeling soft, feeling delicate, feeling spicy, feeling special, feeling disgusted, feeling ashamed, feeling sad, feeling cozy, feeling creative, feeling quiet, feeling chaotic, feeling free…perhaps every feeling I’ve ever felt and continue to feel inspires me.

Do you feel an urgency to create?
I absolutely do. My urge to create lives off of feelings, and feelings are fleeting, so I quite often feel crushed with an overwhelming urge to create before the feeling flees onto wherever feelings flee to. Which is troublesome because I obviously am not always at my creative impulse’s will. Although, I’ve learned to kind of store up my emotions. Like if I meditate on a high for a few moments and savor the feeling for a bit, I am then able to really envision what I want to create and get a good color palette to create with whenever I have the chance. This allows me to create off the same energy later. Which helps. Also, despite my daily work and devotion to creating work, I simply have too many ideas for images, so sometimes I feel an urge from just the amount of things I feel I need to get out of me. But I know I will create them all with time and prioritization.

Caroline Dare

You recently said in Utopia magazine: “{…}the cruelties of humanity do not go unnoticed in my creations and are actually a key motivator in most of my work. ” Can you tell me more about that?
Well, I experience eco-anxiety, just as any person who pays close attention to the climate crisis does. Sometimes I think I’m drawn to utopian-esque scenes as a result of eco-anxiety. Creating those pieces is always very calming. I can’t say that all of my work is created out of this sense of escapism but I can’t deny that it is an underlying factor in some works.

I think generally my work feels daydreamie because I associate creating with feeling like I’m elsewhere, far removed from everything tangible in my life. I get lost in feelings and creating obviously expresses my aches for humanity… I ache for humanity to live in places that are soaked with energy and color and vibrancy… places that feel at home, places that ignite compassion and empathy.  Although, I can say that my eco-anxiety also motivates me to make work that is on the opposite spectrum, work that explores the reality of the climate crisis, which isn’t pretty or calming or comforting in any way. I can definitely myself playing around with those types of visions as well.

Caroline Dare

You recently chose to give up film photography (which you started shooting when you were about 14) after you discovered that film contains animal products. How did it feel to tune your artistic practice to your ethical principles?
It feels deeply liberating. It feels like taking off all of your clothes at the end of a long day. It’s freeing! I’m still using up the rest of my film but will be transitioning to digital shortly so I’m not quite full transitioned yet,  but knowing I’m giving it up feels beautiful. It’s all very exciting to me if you couldn’t tell. I find it un-necessary for me to base my artistic practice in something that necessitates the animal agriculture industry. There are articles that try to justify it by stating that one cow or horse will provide enough gelatin for thou-sands of rolls of film… but isn’t that… just simply unnecessary? Do I need a cow or horse to die in order to have gelatin in order to create art? No… I truthfully just simply do not. I can create art that doesn’t rely on gelatin, so why not do it? (And yes, I know that most printing papers have gelatin in them! However there are some that don’t and I plan on using them once I can get my hands on them!) I know that my life will never be cruelty free because animal products are in essentially everything, but the goal is to lessen my dependency here. And — to make art that doesn’t rely on abusive industries, even if it’s a minute amount. The goal is conscious and continuous compassion.

Caroline Dare

“I believe we should all aim to influence those around us to live a more conscious, compassionate life.”

Do you believe humanity has the power to change?
Humanity is already changing. It’s happening now, it’s just happening too slowly. We need more people to become aware of the crisis and to act on it instead of hiding behind their fears. We soon will not have a choice and will have to live life according to very different terms. Humanity can change before it’s too late if younger generations get to the voting polls in every election possible. Humanity can change if we continue to talk about these issues and help educate those around us. If we vote in people to our governments who are ready to implement change, then we can make massive waves. We also need to listen to the native peoples of the lands we live on. They know it better than any of us and lived sustainably on the land for much longer than we’ve even known of it. We also need to hold big businesses and financial institutions accountable for their investments. We need to stop giving our money to businesses and brands who use our money to fund the fossil fuel industries. Lessening our impact through our daily habits and practices is incredibly helpful but… those huge corporations have the power to offset every little thing we’ve done to lessen our impact with one quick signature. We need big movements globally to match our daily efforts. It’s urgent. This is an emergency.

Caroline Dare (b. 1994) is an emerging American photographer and visual artist currently based in New Zea-land. Her work layers cathartic color manipulation into everyday visions and personal perspectives to create dreamy utopias. She is heavily influenced by colours, emotions and relationships. You can view more of her work on her social media platforms and website.

Website : https://www.creepycarol.com/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/caroline__dare/

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.