Carlson began exploring the expressive capabilities of glass sculpture at Georgia Southwestern in 1997 under Ralph Harvey in Americus, Georgia. As a result of the teamwork approach with his classmates, Carlson was chosen for an assistantship at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 2002. There he worked under Jon Clark and obtained his MFA in glass in 2004. Carlson then began building his own art studio equipment while teaching and working for professional glass artists.
From there, Carlson began Hotglassworks in 2005 by building a mobile glass studio on a car trailer with help from a local grant from Contemporary Glass of Philadelphia. HGW was able to outreach to PA and NJ state ward teenagers by partnering with Creative Heartwork, Inc. to give state-ward youth a glassblowing experience. HGW also enticed philanthropists and recruited students to begin a glassblowing studio in a non-profit art center Arts Quest, at the Banana Factory, in Bethlehem, PA. There, Carlson helped fabricate the equipment and instruct classes, now hosted yearly at Musikfest. During this time, Carlson also taught glassblowing at a local high school, Crefeld Charter School in Philadelphia.
Carlson relocated to Tacoma, WA in 2007 for the opportunity to fabricate equipment and teach for the Museum of Glass mobile hot shop, which opened the opportunity to teach glassblowing to more middle school and high school students. Carlson utilized his exposure to art and business as an instructor and volunteer to empower students in NPO studios, including Pratt Fine Art Center of Seattle and Hilltop Artists of Tacoma, founded and sponsored by Dale Chilhuly, until 2010, when he relocated to San Diego.
Carlson was briefly an adjunct professor at UCSD’s craft center before it was dismantled. Carlson currently makes a living as a professional welder for the UA Local 230 Steamfitters of San Diego. Carlson continues to create decorative objects as well as sculptures and illustrations of cartoon animals from his “PANIC” theme that are energized with excitement found in their over-exaggerated personality traits.
Carlson’s work was exhibited at the Art Glass Association of Southern California in 2010. Also notable, Carlson received a Pratt Fine Arts Fellowship in 2008. Carlson’s work has been exhibited at Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA; John James Audubon Center in Audubon, PA; Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE; Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ; Goodyear Cottage on Jekyll Island, GA.