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Steve and Marsha Carleson

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Together for over 40 years, Steve and Marsha Carleson began collaborating in college at Southern Illinois University. Upon graduation, Dallas, Texas was the next stop where photography, woodworking, and restoring a 1950s home in Dallas’ initial suburb after WW II filled their daily lives. In 1983, they returned to Henry County, Illinois for the rural life. They found opportunities in Bishop Hill, Illinois to raise a daughter, restore an 1870s home, see their garden mature, and operate the adjacent Outsider Gallery.

Steve Carleson is a sum total of his experiences. He said, “My art is an expression of the people, places, and things that shape my view of the planet. I am a child of the 1950s. I feel the form of a box neatly conveys the world of middle-class Christian standards and values into which I was born and bred.” Circumstances and time have greatly altered his perception. He said, “My creations are dark, irreverent, often cynical displays utilizing images of icons of our confused new age. These works are filled with humor and snippets of my private life.”

A therapist in her early professional life, Marsha came to art after a vision loss left her partially sighted. As an Illinois State Artisan for over 20 years, her work consists of natural materials incorporated into her handmade paper vessels, found objects, sculpture, and notecards. Steve and Marsha’s work is available for purchase in the BCA gift shop.

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