At Home with Hilton Carter

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Guggenheim Fellowship Awarded to Baltimore Artist

Living With Art: Hilton Carter, Filmmaker, Producer, and Aspiring Interior & Plant Stylist by Catrell Thomas

Drawing inspiration from his green thumb, Baltimore creative Hilton Carter’s Old Mill residence is a true reflection of his personality and style. His space, a visual journey through a lush, intoxicating, living work of art, is “a mashup of urban modern, industrial, and bohemian.”

A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Carter headed west to LA, where he received his MFA in Film at the Carter Center for Arts and Technology. He then set out to began his career as a freelance filmmaker. Ten years later, he found himself in New Orleans, where the colorful landscape, southern charm, and culture captivated his eye and began to heavily influence his work.

Feeling the call home, Carter returned to Baltimore last year ready to make waves. He’s planted his feet deep in establishing a “home” and is proud to share it with the world.

“I live in Hampden or as some call it, ‘Hampden adjacent,'” he says. “Actually, only I call it that… My girlfriend and I live in a old cotton mill that sits right next to the Jones Falls. Because it’s a historic building, there are a ton of beautiful, unique touches, like stone columns and original wood floors. Plus, because we sit so close to the JF, it feels like you’re not in the city, but still in the city. I look out of my windows and see trees and a river, not just houses and concrete.”

Carter feels strongly about the role of green living things in one’s home – not just for the beauty they add, but for health benefits as well. “Having plants in your home not only adds life, but changes the airflow throughout. Its also a key design element when styling your place. For me, it wasn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and…. yes!”

“At this point, we have over 120 plants and the only reason why is because we have the space and light to care for them,” he continues. “You give us more windows, more floor space and I’m sure we’d have more plants. If I had my way, I’d peel the roof back and let the sky in. But we live in an apartment building and I’m sure the owners wouldn’t allow that.”

Chatting about the favorite plants in his life, it’s obvious Carter’s plant choices all have a personal story attached to them. Each container is placed in a strategic way that only he can understand; his eye and visual narrative simply make sense in tandem to him.

As a newly-motivated set of artists pack up and come or return to Baltimore, Hilton’s decision to migrate home was a simple one… love. That plus a  job opportunity as the Executive Producer at SnackShop, it was a done deal.

“The great thing about being back in Baltimore is being close to my family, my friends, and the talented individuals who still live here,” he says. “That was one of the most surprising things to come home to. There are so many talented artist who stayed or have come back and it’s only helping to make the city better. I love it!”

Outside of his day job, and being a father to 120 plants, Carter is on a new path, freelancing as an interior and plant stylist (the custom landscape lamps in this spread are his own creation).

While we wait and watch his work and his space flourish, you can find Hilton online for daily inspiration and motivation or jealousy over a thumb so green it seems supernatural. Follow him on Instagram at @hiltoncarter.

Author / Photographer Cat Thomas is BmoreArt’s new Features Editor! She is a graphic designer and writer based in PG County.

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