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  • Carling Jackson
  • Catherine Janiga

Carling Jackson

Carling Jackson
Super women, they are all around us. They are the entrepreneurs who start their own businesses, the executives who dominate their industries, and the artists who inspire us. Over the years I’ve learned that we all have valuable lessons to share. This series features lessons and successes of women across multiple disciplines. Through their journey, I hope that you find an insight that you can apply to your own goals, businesses, and successes.

Carling Jackson, professional painter and founder of Humanity Art, has been featured by multiple news outlets, her work is commissioned by professional athletes and organizations around the world, and she has been awarded by the United Nations humanitarian focused artwork in Brazil. Today we uncover 6 keys to her success, we hope you'll take something away from her journey and make it part of your success. 

1. Embrace the Unexpected

At the beginning of Carling’s career, she was dedicated to athletics with a soccer scholarship to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She loved art, but at the time she never would have seen her life immersed in the craft. She was never going to be a painter, she was going to play professional soccer for the rest of her life. It was a career-ending injury on the field that ultimately led to her pursuing her passion for painting.

“Losing my soccer career due to injury. I thought I'd never find something I love like soccer. People kept telling me "The Universe/God" has a plan. I didn't believe it until now. I would never have been an artist had I not gotten injured and played pro soccer."

Carling Jackson in France

2. Find What Inspires You

It’s one thing to enjoy art, but it’s another thing to turn painting into a career that means more than just aesthetic beauty.

“As an artist my inspirations are pain, suffering, love, passion, sports, making a difference in the world. I can feel the emotions of others - their pain, their light, their passion. I can feel it as if it is my own. Some intrinsic element awakens when you have inspiration as an artist and you have to move, to create, to release the emotion onto the canvas. Suffering inspires me because I have an ability to share with the world issues that go unattended to; oft-ignored or marginalized peoples, human rights, environmental rights, etc. With art you only need to see - it transcends all language barriers. I paint the change I wish to see in the world.”

3. Never Be Satisfied

One would think that being able to create the way Carling does that she would be satisfied. The opposite is true and that dissatisfaction drives her.

“I'm never satisfied. I am always envisioning more, more success, more pathways to create, more collaborations with NGO's, athletes and organizations. Part of what I love about being an entrepreneur in a multidisciplinary field is the number of opportunities you can create for yourself!”

4. No Excuses

Even after she successfully reinvented herself from athlete to artist there are always challenges. She has a rare health condition that would sideline most people. When asked how she combats her health challenge she simply responses, “I fight it.”

“I used to use it as an excuse - but I learned to fight through - no excuses. My condition is so rare I have yet to meet another human like me. There isn't even a name for it yet - the closest thing is idiopathic anaphylaxis. I can develop an allergy to almost anything. I have had over 50 anaphylactic attacks and carry 3 EpiPens and an entire medical kit in my purse. I don't let it stop me because it is my reality. If anything, It keeps me fighting - I stay hungry for success. There are nights where I'm in the hospital all night and having your throat close to an unknown allergen is something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. But I have more to do in this world. I have more people to help, more to paint. I will never let it stop me. It is a part of who I am. I'd be lying if I said it isn't debilitating sometimes. But, what is the alternative? Mope around my apartment? Feel sorry for myself? No, it’s getting up, moving, creating, getting better. Never giving up. I’m a warrior. Not a victim.”

Painting of Neymar

5. Trusted Counsel

Confidants and mentors are well-known keys to success, Carling found her’s early in life.

“My mom is a world renowned psychologist and she constantly gives me amazing advice! I don't know what I would do without her. I think in relation to my work the best advice is as an entrepreneur you have ups and downs. There are times when you have doubts and times when you are on a super high from work. The key is to remain balanced because no matter how successful anyone is there are highs and lows - it’s apart of the process. People can be fickle and business is people.

6. Talk to Yourself

It takes more than the counsel of others to achieve success. Often the loudest support and disapproval can come from within. It’s important to keep that voice in your head as positive as possible.

“One habit that makes me better is my self-talk. Creating cue phrases or words that keep me motivated, focused and disciplined. Change your thinking and you can change your life. My phrases are: ‘Keep going.’ and ’You must continue.’ I have a third voice whose like a drill sergeant who yells at me to work (probably derived from my athlete days)."

Carling Jackson’s journey is nuanced, deep and greater than we have time to cover in this feature. Although we did get some great takeaways in the time we had:

1. Embrace the Unexpected
2. Find What Inspires You
3. Never Be Satisfied
4. No Excuses
5. Trusted Counsel
6. Talk to Yourself


To discover more about Carling’s work and her ongoing journey, you can follow her on Instagram at @carlingjacksonart.


*Images provided by Carling Jackson
*Written & edited by Cat Janiga and Mike Reid

  • Catherine Janiga

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