A note from our art aficionado intern, Monica…
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon I arrive to Russ and Daughters for a late lunch with Carla Shen. Carla is a trustee of the Brooklyn Museum, a fashion enthusiast and you may know her by her Instagram hashtag #CarlasCamo. Carla’s Instagram is filled with images of her attires matching artworks, paying homage to the artists and their works.
Born in New York and basically raised in the Brooklyn Museum — her mother was part of the administrative staff at the Conservation Lab for over 30 years — Carla’s interest in art was nurtured since an early age. Her mother had a ceramic studio and both parents collected art, mostly prints. After college, she acquired a couple of her parent’s prints that were her favorite and started her own collection.
In 2016, a propitious visit to Jack Shainman’s The School up in Kinderhook with Brooklyn Museum president David Berliner for a tour of Richard Moss’ show made for a fortuitous match with the art work and her outfit of the day. Once the match was pointed out, she thought it would make a good image to share on her Instagram and with her friends.
Although it was originally based on pure chance, after a while Carla started embracing the art and attire matches and took on the challenge of intentionally creating content for the #CarlasCamo hashtag.
When asked about her hobby….
“I don’t take myself very seriously, it’s always meant to be for fun. Really, it’s all about paying tribute to the artwork and the artist. It’s all about honoring and recognizing the artist, the artwork and the gallery… The times where I’ve gotten more excited about feedback or comments is when people tell me: Oh! I had never heard of this artist or gallery until I saw your post.”
When asked about influences, other bloggers and taking the Instagram hashtag to the next level, Carla laughs and states that she’s more into creating homage to the work rather than have the attention herself. All her clothes she showcases are owned by her and include vintage or rare finds from different small stores and brands rather than big designer pieces that would make her hobby a very expensive one. She currently does at least 2 matches per day and when prompted, she revealed that 7 have been the most matches (and changes) she’s made in a day during busy art seasons.
Since she manages the Instagram herself – as there’s no publicist, no stylist, no hair and make-up, no photographer – it’s just her natural style and a friend or sometimes even a stranger’s good eye for photos, this makes her account delightfully surprising and genuine. I discovered all this myself as we left Russ and Daughters for a quick gallery stroll and I helped her pose, style and photographed one of her newest matches at a Lower East Side gallery. Carla Shen is absolutely charming and a very interesting follow if you are into discovering artworks, galleries and artists while admiring artfully matched outfits.