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Bob Daniel Community Centre

895 Beaufort Street Inglewood

Artist Interview - Karen James

Karen James has been a Visual Art teacher in the public education system for almost 40 years and, although she has exhibited in group exhibitions a few times, the Wonderland exhibition at the Inglewood Arts Hub is the first time she has shown her work on this scale. 

What does your work aim to say?

My work is inspired by the natural world, particularly the sculptural qualities of the flora, and the light and colour of the Australian landscape. These artworks are part of a body of work that has begun to investigate the landscape in my journeys around Western Australia. As we become more disconnected from the world around us, I hope to lift the profile of the Australian environment through my artwork and aim to showcase the intensity of colour and light as well as its ability to excite our senses and improve our mood.

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influences are artists like Cezanne and van Gogh in the use of line, colour and style. I am also influenced by pop artists in their use of contemporary printing techniques to produce artwork. In particular, Howard Arkley, in the way his work is trying to represent the Australian experience and his use of techniques that make his work appear as if they are out of a magazine. Through my work, I hope to raise the profile of the Australian environment, giving the things we take for granted, pop art status.

How has your career developed and evolved?

These works are result of hiatus from teaching, where I chose to spend time in nature to assist me with overcoming symptoms of anxiety. I began taking photos of elements of the landscape and manipulating them in various digital programs as design ideas for painting. I think this is a reflection of my training in art and design. When I began to see the intensity of colour and contrast that I could achieve using these methods, I decided to try printing the digital paintings, and these artworks are some of the results.

Describe your studio or workspace.

My workspace is anywhere I have time and access to the environment and digital editing programs.

What is your dream project?

To record and celebrate waterways and flora in the Australian landscape on a large scale both in size and number of species represented in my work.

What is the best piece of advice you've received as an artist?

Just keep going.

How do you overcome creative blocks?

Get out in nature. 

How do you stay motivated and productive in your art practice?

Spending time in nature. I love this quote by Vincent van Gogh, "I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.

How do you balance your personal life and your art practice?

It's a challenge.

Paperbark, digital print on canvas

30 x 40-inch (SOLD)

Candlestick banksia nut - Whiteman park

12 x 12-inch digital print on canvas

Contact Karen James:

Instagram - @karen_james_artis


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