Born and raised in New Bedford, MA, Carolyn Swiszcz followed an older brother to the Midwest to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, earning a printmaking BFA in 1994. In the late 90's she spent three winters in Miami Beach on a now-defunct fellowship funded by Carnival Cruise Lines. Carolyn found inspiration on South Beach’s side streets in faded apartment complexes, stores, signs, and broken pay phones ready to be cleared away by the rapidly-developing cityscape. Twenty years later she hasn’t shaken her love for buildings whose days appear numbered, rendering them with acrylic paint and an inventive use of rudimentary printmaking techniques. Her penchant for experimentation and bliss-following has also led her to create songs, music videos, and animations. She currently publishes a bi-monthly mail order zine, Zebra Cat Zebra.

Carolyn’s work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Drawing Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery in New York, and Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston. She is a recipient of the Jerome, McKnight, Bush, and Minnesota State Arts Board artist fellowships. She lives in West Saint Paul, MN with her husband (photographer Wilson Webb) and their daughter. 

Artist Statement

Art-making helps me imbue day-to-day life with magic and purpose. Painting a picture of a building is my way to anoint it as well as a way to convince myself I have the powers of consecration. It makes me feel as if my subject and I become part of a large and important story, making me feel less vulnerable to being forgotten. 

I’m pulled forward by a search for innovative ways to make a painting without using too much fussy brush work. I do a lot of planning in my head on how different elements or textures will be rendered with simple printmaking supplies. I put these systems in place and then set them into motion, trying to leave a good percentage of the result to chance. The moment of reveal is like Christmas; it's a treat that I keep in my mind as I’m assembling a painting’s ingredients, looking for new ways the material can offer surprises.



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Email: carolynjs at