Carolyn Bogart De Leo was born in Mississippi. Her family settled here in the early 1800s, and has been here ever since.
She grew up in Kansas, where her father, who served in the Air Force, was stationed.
I was raised in Kansas, with its big skies, which gave me a sense of freedom to be. And with its history of the women who lived on the prairie and their strength. I have the heart of an explorer, and a natural curiosity. People would tell me that I was a daydreamer, an oddly quiet child. Finally they said that I was an artist. Which I already knew.
Carolyn returned to Mississippi in her early 20s, and studied commercial design and advertising. She then moved to New Orleans, where she became known for her avant garde approach to design and illustration, and she eventually started her own design business, with clients both national and global. She specialized in fashion illustration, and set and stage design.
Painting for me was the balance to the technical demands of commercial design and illustration. It was self-expressive, I could boldly take images from my own thoughts and experiences.In her 20s Carolyn was able to travel throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and the Mediterranean, and was influenced greatly by what she saw and by the different cultures she experienced. Those experiences still inspire her.
She moved to New York’s Hudson Valley after marrying, where she continued to paint and exhibit. Every place I have lived I have been fortunate to be surrounded by other creative people, friends, mentors and colleagues, each of them uniquely different. New York was a fountain of knowledge and inspiration for me. Carolyn came back to Jackson a few years ago, having come full circle in returning to the city of her childhood and to her memories of summer vacations here and in Vicksburg.
The reconnection to a different time in my life has given me a sense of fullness and a deeper and richer understanding of how and what I paint.
I love the journey I am on.