Carl Ostberg is a Vancouver-based multi-disciplinary artist and majorly crush-worthy creative. His Instagram is where boundary-pushing flat lay and product shot dreams are born. The whimsical feed full of dreamy flowers and exotic fruits is a dangerous place to be if you’re feeling the spring fever. Carl really knows how to make meaning and expand his own creative limits within every staged image. With a background in make-up and floristry, Carl says that he never planned to become a prop stylist. Maybe that’s why he’s doing so many favours for the realm.
We caught up with Carl about his daily routine and his dream collaboration.
Have you always wanted to become a prop stylist? How did the road to prop styling look like for you? It was never in my intention to become a stylist. And truthfully I had (and still have) no clear idea of where I was or am heading. Some days I think of myself more as a florist, some others more as a photographer, and some others more as a stylist. And often, none of those things.
Can you describe your creative process? Where do you start? What do you usually have on or around you? How do you work? My creative process almost always begins on a whim. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by florals and an unhealthy amount of hoarded fruit. It usually starts with one anchor piece and then I’ll add some fabric, think through the colours, start building a shape. And then almost always take it too far – I can’t control myself with leaf shine.
What does an average day in your life look like?
I wish I could have more average days.
I love stability and routine, yet I do everything to veer away from it.
An average day will have the following pieces: – Banana bread – Flowers – Coffee – Fruit, moldy preferred – Some kind of mild rant – Photography – Questioning all my abilities – Chipotle – Back to questioning myself and comparing myself to others – Sleep
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite project, and why it’s your favourite? I don’t know if I can name a favourite. Each offers something new. As long as I can challenge and stretch myself, it’s a good project.
You’re a true multidisciplinary artist. Do you have a preferred medium to work with? I’m a florist by trade, so that’s a good jumping off point to explore other mediums. It’s nice having a comfort zone to return to after a day of experimentation.
What type of education, if any, did you obtain to become a prop stylist? I have a very applicable degree in make-up artistry.
I feel like the whole process of ending up where I am now has been very organic. In a sense, I was tricked into being a florist. And the evolution into styling and photography was, for me, something that naturally went hand-in-hand.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Who are some of your favourite artists? I’d love to say that I walk by the ocean or lose myself in the forest.
The truth is it comes from finding a moldy orange and being like, ‘Oh, she’s kind of cute.’
Seeing a dumpster full of packing materials and getting in there. And then there are times where there isn’t time to have inspiration – you just have to do it and be inspired by the process.
Is there a particular brand you aspire to work with in the future? I’ve been praying on all my Rhonda Byrnes stars that Glossier will find me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? I feel like we put a lot of pressure and anxiety on not feeling like an imposter, or on this idea that we should know exactly how things are going to turn out or develop (both about life or a project). By doing this, we lose our sense of play and our confidence.
My advice would be to work hard.
Learn to know when to go a little bit numb because there’s going to be feedback, opinions, last-minute changes – it’s going to be rough, but don’t forget to play.
What’s next for you? Well, I’ll probably cap off the day by crushing three La Croix, eating a slice of pizza, and editing photos until 2 a.m. Beyond that is a wondrous mystery.