Caroline Bentley’s Hand-Painted Accessories Are Changing the Game

Everyone has that one bag or jacket that they feel such a personal connection to, it seems like it was made for them.

Now think of that feeling and multiply it by 100, and that’s how personalized Caroline Bentley’s hand-painted accessories are.

Caroline uses the social media feeds of her clients to create one-of-a-kind bags covered with drawings of their favorite things. A Caroline Bentley bag will be more “you” than anything you’ve ever picked out yourself.

We talked to the artist about what makes her tick.

How’d you get into your leather-painting business?

I’ve been painting since I was little gal. I used to paint on anything I could find and try to sell them to my grandparents and anyone in Kentucky that would listen.

It has organically been a way for me to express myself. In middle school I splatter-painted the entire bathroom in my room, and my mom let me keep it. It looked awful, but I am thankful for that because it enabled me to keep going and continue to improve over the years.

Do you have any formal art training?

I actually studied acting at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I continued to paint as I studied. I actually made a really cool piece during Hurricane Sandy. After graduating I booked a one way to LA! California has inspired me to act, create, and paint even more which is when I started specifically getting into leather paint. Angelus Paint is the brand that I use, once it’s on the leather it’s not going anywhere!

How do you decide what to paint on every piece?

It always depends. If it is for someone specific like Kehlani, or Amber Asaly, Karrueche… anyone who inspires me… it’s easy. I look at their Instagram and/or Tumblr and can easily find ideas as to what I think they’d like or what they teach me through their own creations, music, photography, etc. I also have thousands of screenshots of any and every kind of picture from the world wide web in my phone. My brain is constantly scanning my environment and finding something that I could paint that on! The world is too inspiring, I will never run out of ideas.

What’s your creative process like?

My creative process is pretty simple. I like being alone. Usually listening to some really loud R&B with a glass of wine (or a bottle), I flip through images and get a few starting ideas…then I just let go. I don’t outline or draw anything first. Everything I do is free hand. I don’t like to think too much while I paint. It’s a release, I tell myself there is no such thing as messing up. It never turns out how you “thought” it SHOULD.…it’s usually better!

For your own Caroline Bentley bag, visit her website or email


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