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Karen Remsen

-Karen, we'd love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today, both personally and as an artist.

I loved painting and drawing as a child and grew up thinking that I wanted to be an artist. However, I took a different path in college and studied Graphic Design, which I thought was more practical. I graduated and worked as a Graphic Designer for about 5 years and then transitioned into User Experience Design and Research, where I worked full-time for about 6 years helping to build websites, apps, software, etc. 


In late 2019, I felt the urge to paint after not picking up a brush for nearly 15 years. When the pandemic started a few months later, I was still working full-time, but I suddenly found myself with a lot more free time at home. I painted more and fell back in love with it. At the beginning of 2021, I decided to leave my full-time job. Since then, I've split my time between making art and freelancing in tech. 

-How do you pull a woman’s identity out onto the canvas?

My goal is not necessarily to represent an individual woman's identity or personality. I want my paintings to express some aspect of being a woman. I want viewers of all genders to reflect on how femininity resonates with them. What feeling does my painting conjure for them? Each painting puts me in the mindset of some aspect of femininity – strength, serenity, confidence, mystery, etc.  

-What advice would you give on knowing when and how to share your work, and when not to.

Sometimes I regret the fact that I spent so many years away from making art. But, there are some advantages to becoming a working artist in your 30s – namely, you don't care as much about other peoples' opinions. I'm happy to share my work whenever and however. I know it's not for everyone; there is only a small percentage of people who will really love it and an even smaller percentage who will collect it. And that is totally okay. 

My advice is to not base your decisions on other peoples' perceptions but rather based on your own time and sanity. Getting your work out into the world takes time and effort. Only invest your energy in opportunities that you think will serve you well.