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This week we are proud to introduce our newest artist, Karen Stamper. Her painting is a heady mix of Pop, Guerilla and Urban and her collage is simply stunning and would be well placed in any house, modern or traditional. Please read the interview below and get to know her. You can see her work here - Karen's Work


Where do you live and does it influence your work?

I currently live in Cambridge, before that London, Nottingham, Glasgow. I've moved around and love cities and being 'in the thick of it', it definitely influences my work with regards not only to art but life in general and how much of it I get to see.


How/where did you realise that you wanted to be an artist?

I have been locking myself away in my room as a young child and spend hours upon days being creative. I knew art was in my future and went on to art school then after graduating I worked as a graphic designer to bring some money in, however my passion has always been painting, for me it's an escapist pursuit and a cathartic process.


What was it that pushed you toward developing your practise in the direction you did?

I have only recently been able to admit just how completely vulnerable I am when I'm painting. I've always found this difficult to talk about but as I get older I no longer feel ashamed of my ideas and thought processes. To create something is to make something that never existed before, there is nothing more vulnerable than that. 


Who were/are your influences?

From a young age I have been massively drawn to colour, my earliest favoured artists were Matisse, Kahlo and O'Keeffe and loved the way that they used colour in a bold way. I currently love the work by feminist artists such as Guerrilla Girls and Sarah Maple who are not afraid to say what they think. I guess I just really admire artists that are bold and gutsy.


It appears that comic iconography and style passé are consistent themes in your work – what is the reason for this?

I tend to work on a series of paintings which starts life in a sketchbook (a bit like a diary) and work on subjects that are originally dark, I've always been told that I see the world differently from other people. When I work on something in my sketchbooks I'm almost putting the darkness through a spin cycle and it comes out being bright and beautiful again, the original idea only exits in spirit but you can still see it's there if you look hard enough. The iconography comes up as a way of being able to laugh in the face of adversity.


If you had to associate yourself with one artistic movement (pop, urban etc) where would you put yourself? If you want to define your own, you are more than welcome!

I'm not entirely sure where you would place me. My work is definitely bold and colourful and tends to lend itself to a few different areas. I would first and foremost consider myself a feminist artist. Saying you're a feminist seems to be the worst thing in the world these days but from my point of view I just stick up for the underdog.


Can you list your favourite song, artist, poem/rhyme/limerick, hot meal and cold meal?


Music is a huge part of painting for me, there is always music on in my studio and really helps me intensely focus on my work, the more random the tunes the better. I was born in Scotland and lived there until I was 11 when we moved to Surrey. I won a competition at school for reading the poem and I just love it to this day and the memories it brings back;

The Singer Fair by Walter Wingate

You've hurt your finger? Puir wee man!
Your pinkie? Deary me!
Noo, juist you haud it that wey till
I get my specs and see!
My, so it is - and there's the skelf!
Noo, dinna greet nae mair
See there - my needle's gotten't out!
I'm sure that wasna sair?
And noo, to make it hale the morn
Put on a wee bit saw
And tie a bonnie hankie roun't
Noo, there na - rin awa'!
Your finger sair ana'? Ye rogue,
Ye're only lettin' on!
Weel, weel, then - see noo, there ye are,
Row'd up the same as John!


Where are you heading with your practise and do you have any interesting news about your direction?

Painting is a personal challenge for me, ultimately it's therapy and I never know where it's going to lead or what will come next.

I don't think I can make work without an idea, and you can't just use craft either so there's a moment when the both come together and that's where I start.  


Is there anything about the art world at the moment which you don’t like? Could you and/or would you change it?

It's annoying that it's hard for women in this industry still but there is more awareness of it and some great artists and gallery directors that I admire and I trying to change peoples views.

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