May's Featured Artist!
This month’s featured artist began her creative journey at the age of five. Karen Robb was surrounded with art in her childhood and started creating still-lifes early on. Her aunt was an immense source of inspiration growing up and encouraged her to continue the creative path she was on. To this day, Karen loves to switch up her style based on how a piece is developing. By doing so, it allows her to hone in her skills as an artist.
Acrylic is the medium she uses the most, however her relationship with charcoal is an old one and gives her comfort when working with it – there is just something with the way it is easily manipulated on the paper that it almost feels liquid. Nonetheless, photography eventually stole her heart.
“For me it is the beginning to a story I want to tell. The emotions, and spontaneity that connects me to my subject are raw and always in real time. There is something that feels like a gift every time I hear the shutter click”
Before beginning a piece, Karen gets herself as comfortable as possible by undressing, lighting a candle or some sage, and making a wish so she can open her heart and eyes to her process. She always begins a painting with her favorite brush, and when finished, cracks open a bottle of sangria to celebrate.
Karen gathers inspiration from some of her favorite artists: Klimt, for his rich, edgy and expressive works; the still loneliness of Hopper, and of course, Antonio Corradini and DaVinci. She also loves the works from photographers, Steichen, Karsh, and Avadon. Her favorite part about researching artists is having their creativity influence her work. Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture did just that. She loves his belief in nature, design, and how well they can work cohesively together. She also adores the fluid prairie style of Frank Gehry, I.M Pei for his modern genius, and Zaha Hadid for her bravery in carving a path through a male dominated field.
Her work has been in many exhibitions in Canada and abroad. One year she was part of ten shows including 3 solo shows. Karen describes the experience as, “a grind but invigorating”. One series, called Frankly Speaking, incorporated Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings as hats featuring iconic women. This series was one of many presented at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. She also participated in The Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall, and The Portage and District Arts Centre where she featured in the PoeTREE series. Karen’s work has been in newsprint, magazines, and on the cover of Architectural Digest called Prairie and the New York Optimist.
Her plan for the future is to start deconstructing her process and simplifying it so she can define her style. Currently she is working on a new series called “It Becomes Us”, which deals with the issues associated with violence against women. She will be telling 12 women’s personal stories in one image, by beginning the raw footage and interviews. These stories will hang beside each piece.
Her advice for emerging artists: "The best advice I can give any emerging artist is to listen to your inner voice, stay true to yourself and never stop doing what gives you passion no matter what people say about your work. Push forward and keep creating because no one else will ever have the same visual finger print as you do."
To find more of Karen Robb’s work, visit:
Thank you for joining me for this month’s featured artist! Tune in next month for our next featured artist!
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