Carol Benson-Cobb likes to create “moods” with distinct color palettes. The Dallas-based artist employs certain tones and hues to paint atmospheric artworks that elevate and enhance the unique ambience of a space. “My love has always been painting for projects, customizing my work for an end objective,” she tells Business of Home.
Growing up in rural Texas and Colorado, Benson-Cobb was always a creative thinker. “I was surrounded by the natural landscape and horses,” she says. “My art developed through circumstance. I had an early connection to nature and a big imagination that left me longing for more creativity.”
Over the years, she tried her hand at several different painting styles, before falling in love with abstract art while living in the high deserts of Arizona. “My first real studio sat on the edge of a canyon, and I painted nonstop for a year,” she says. “That experience changed my path. I honed my style and became extremely focused.”
She began working directly with collectors and interior designers before relocating to Dallas and opening a commercial studio. In 2011, she partnered with Holly Hunt on a licensed collection of original works for their showrooms. However, after much deliberation, she decided to purchase the existing inventory and walk away from the collaboration, eventually relaunching reproductions under her own brand name. “The partnership really pushed my work and confidence forward, but I quickly recognized the inevitable conflict of maintaining my value and controlling my distribution,” she says.
By 2012, Benson-Cobb launched a manufacturing studio and began scaling her fine art into shoppable prints for big-name brands, including Neiman Marcus, One Kings Lane, Williams-Sonoma and Calvin Klein. “I am self-taught across the board, which is very painful at times,” she says. “I learned to print out of pure frustration with our printing source, but that was probably the biggest game changer. Learning how to manipulate my work gave me a unique business model and a definite niche in the industry.”
Being both a creative force and a business owner can prove challenging at times for Benson-Cobb, who often struggles to pivot to painting mode after playing boss all day. “I have a daily routine of setting aside time in each category that needs my attention, then checking out completely for larger blocks of time when I need to produce new work,” she says. “I need space away from the business to maintain that flow.”
Along with original and reproduced artworks, Benson-Cobb collaborates with brands on furniture and textile designs. In addition to a collection of artful furnishings—including an ombre-esque eglomise paneled credenza for John-Richard and a series of hand-knotted rugs for Creative Touch—she recently released a line of ethereal wallpaper patterns for York Wallcoverings. “I have always been interested in seeing the work translated to various forms,” she says.
Looking ahead, Benson-Cobb hopes to team up with new brands on bespoke pieces inspired by her artwork. “I think my creative drive leaves me no choice but to seek out ways to expand my work,” she says. “Licensing has become a great tool, and I am hopeful there will be new partnerships in the areas that make the most sense for the integrity of the artwork.”