1. Welcome Karen to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
Thank you for having me at The Influx Gallery, it's an honor to be part of the family. I'm
Karen Fike, a visual artist based in Chicago. I was born in New York in 1969, and I've lived
in various parts of the country due to my family moving around quite a bit when I was
2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?
Yes, my family has been incredibly supportive of my decision to pursue art. They
recognized my passion for it from a young age and encouraged me to explore all my
creative interests. To be fair, I’ve always been strong-willed and a risk taker. So I think
they knew I was always going to live out loud no matter what!
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
I've always had a deep appreciation for art, even as a child. I remember being
mesmerized by paintings in museums and wanting to create something just as beautiful
and impactful. As I got older, I began to understand the power that art has to
communicate and provoke thought, and that's when I knew I wanted to become an
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
Absolutely. My schooling played a huge role in my creative development. I studied
performance theater and scenic art at the University of Texas, Arlington, which gave me
a strong foundation in both technical skills and storytelling and theatricality/drama that
always shows up in my work. Experimenting with painting and mixed media has helped
me to develop my own unique style.
5. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?
Inspiration can come from a variety of places - from nature to architecture to other
artists. I'm particularly drawn to the strength and resilience of women, which is a
recurring theme in my work. I find inspiration in the world around me and the people I
encounter every day.
6. Do you have a favourite painting technique?
I don't have a specific favorite painting technique - I like to experiment with different
materials such as modeling paste, ground glass, gel mediums and interference glazes,
and stencil applications to see what works best for each individual piece.
7. I am intrigued by the prominence of the process to your work and creative practise. Can you elaborate upon this facet to your work?
Yes, the process is incredibly important to me. I like to allow the materials to guide me
and let the piece evolve naturally, rather than forcing it to fit a preconceived idea. This
often involves layering and building up the surface of the canvas with different textures
and colors until the image emerges. It's important to me that the process is visible in the
final piece, giving the viewer an insight into how the work came to be.
8. What was your most enjoyable piece to create?
That's a tough one - each piece is special in its own way. But I would say that I
particularly enjoyed creating a large-scale painted guitar sculpture for Joliet's
READY2ROCK 2023 event. The combination of music and visual art was an incredibly
exciting opportunity for me.
9. How do you see your paintings evolving over the next 10 years?
I see my paintings becoming more complex over the next 10 years. I'm always
experimenting with new materials and techniques, and I think this will lead to more
intricate and layered works. I also hope to continue pushing myself out of my comfort
zone and exploring new subject matter and themes.
10. Do you collect art or have a favourite painter?
Yes, I do collect art - I think it's important to support other artists and surround myself
with pieces that inspire me. As for favorite painters, there are too many to name, but
I’m especially inspired by the work of my three mentors, Drew Harris, Sergio Gomez,
and Jennifer Jones. I'm constantly discovering new artists whose work I admire.
11. You describe your work as “the perfect storm of color, texture and movement” Can you elaborate on this poetic premise a little?
"The perfect storm of color, texture, and movement" refers to the way that these
elements come together in my work to create a sense of dynamism and energy. I want
my paintings to feel alive and to draw the viewer in, and I think this combination of
elements helps to achieve that. Each piece is unique, but they all have a sense of
movement and vibrancy that I hope captures the viewer's attention.
12. Thanks a lot for your valuable time and interest. You can include any other details you want to talk about here?
Thank you for having me, it's been a pleasure to share a bit about
myself and my work. One thing I would like to mention is the importance of community
and collaboration in the art world. I have been fortunate enough to have amazing
mentors and colleagues who have supported and encouraged me throughout my artistic
journey. I believe that working with others and being open to feedback and critique is
essential for growth and development as an artist. Additionally, I believe in giving back
to the community by teaching and mentoring aspiring artists, and by participating in
local arts organizations and events. It is through these connections and collaborations
that we can create a vibrant and thriving artistic community.