Exclusive Interview with Karen V Kanas – Painter
Karen was raised in Chicago, Illinois and involved in the arts from a very young age. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from the Performing Arts Center, Barat College of DePaul University. Karen was fortunate enough to work with such theatre companies as Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Theatre and Phoenix Theatre to name a few. She studied painting and art history throughout her years in school, in addition to studying architecture and interior design when she moved to Los Angeles, California at UCLA.
Karen has been an artist for over ten years. Her background in theatre has influenced her immensely as an artist. Many pieces of her artwork have been on exhibit in Los Angeles, New York City, San Jose and Huntington Beach. Karen was featured in DESTIG Magazine as one their top emerging artists for 2019 and in the Los Angeles Art Association 2019 Volume 2 Catalog. She is a Founder Member of ArtChilli Gallery UK, the 2020 scholarship recipient and member of the Los Angeles Art Association and founding artist of Ozli based in Los Angeles.
Karen’s artwork has been featured in House & Gardens Magazine. She was the recipient of the 2020 Artist of the Future Award by Contemporary Art Curator Magazine and the 2021 recipient of the Award of Artistic Excellence for her Painting, Dancer in Motion, by Circle Foundation for the Arts. She also wrote and produced her video performance art piece, The Unseen Artist which is a self-exploration of herself as an artist, and she directed the online series, Shakespeare’s Pawn. Karen currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her husband actor Ammar Daraiseh.
NY Glam: Tell us a little about yourself and your career beginnings.
I am an artist based in Los Angeles, California and known for my vibrant use of color in my landscape, abstract art, portrait, and figure paintings. Many pieces of my work have been on exhibit in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Jose. I feel that throughout my life, I have always been an artist, but I didn’t realize it until many, many years ago. Everything I have done from the time I was a child always involved art – whether going to a museum, taking art classes, or my studies in theatre and art history – all paths led to me being an artist. I was raised in Chicago, Illinois and involved in the arts from a very young age. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from the Performing Arts Center, Barat College of DePaul University. I have been an artist for over ten years and my background in theatre has influenced me immensely as an artist.
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
I have a new piece I’m painting as well as another painting commission coming up. Then I’m planning out my next series of painting. My artwork was also recently featured in House & Garden Magazine, UK as part of their fall art edit campaign in the September, October, and November 2021 issues of the magazine as well as in their H&G online shop.
NY Glam: What art do you most identify with?
I most identify with Impressionism, Post Impressionism and Early Modernism art.
NY Glam: What themes do you pursue?
I love a good landscape and enjoy painting them. I feel its when I am most traditional as an artist. I have been doing more portrait and figure paintings over this past year which I am really enjoying as well.
NY Glam: What’s your favorite art work?
There are so many different types of artwork that I love, to name a favorite is difficult. Art can be very subjective. When I view other artists work, I am always interested to see what they have created on or what I can learn from them.
NY Glam: Tells us about some of your recent exhibitions. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I recently had two back-to-back shows one in Los Angeles at Gallery 825 – Upcycle Exhibition and another show in Huntington Beach, California Scapes and Scope – Visions of the Land, Sea and Urban Space.
I have had people tell me that my work has a calming effect and what certain pieces of my artwork mean to them or what memory it triggers. Many of my pieces highlights moments or memories from my own life that are relatable – allowing the viewer to have their own experience when viewing my artwork, maybe evoking a memory from a time in their life that they are reminded of.
NY Glam: Tell us about one of your projects which you are very proud of.
That would be a recent painting commission I did – The Road to Perdition, based on one of the scenes from the film. I did my own twist on it and a play on perspective. It’s one of the pieces that I’m most proud of as it turned out exactly the way I had envisioned it and my client was thrilled as well.
NY Glam: What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative to me means being imaginative and envisioning ideas that I have of what I want to explore on canvas. Sometimes this involves jotting ideas down in my journal or doing a quick sketch. I am always inspired when I walk out the door and I have a very vivid memory. I can remember almost everything from the time I was a child. I paint from memory a lot and it is always my interpretation of that moment.
NY Glam: What are you trying to communicate with your art?
The purpose of my work is to tell a story – a huge part of that story is my own personal journey as an artist. I feel each piece that I paint tells a story and is an extension of myself.
NY Glam: What role does the Artist have in Society?
I feel the purpose of an artist in society is to educate, convey a message or story, make people think, and open each other’s eyes to the world around us through different mediums. There are many ways of doing this and each artist has a different story they want to tell. I think that is what makes art so dynamic. The wide range of work, points of view, and ways about which art is communicated and displayed. There are artists I follow on Instagram that are so talented and whom I admire. I not only learn about each of them as artists, but I learn about where they come from, what message they are conveying whether it is political, religious, personal, etc. Every artist’s story is different and unique.
NY Glam: What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
It is challenging and difficult at times being an artist and navigating the art world especially for women. We often don’t get the opportunities or exposure that our male counterparts do. There are a lot of ups and downs. I try to learn from every experience and move on. I am grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way. I feel that there is more out there and I have only scratched the surface.
NY Glam: How has painting influenced your life?
Painting has been a huge influence on my life as I always learn a lot about myself from each of my pieces of artwork. I feel each piece challenges me in a good way and pushes myself to work outside of my comfort zone. It is also very therapeutic at times as well depending on what is happening in my personal life.
NY Glam: What art movement or artist would you say influences your work most?
My background in the performing arts has shaped my creativity as an artist throughout my life. I share this quality with Marc Chagall who I relate to the most as the performing arts were a significant source of his inspiration throughout his artistic career.
NY Glam: What can we expect from you this year?
I have an interview for another online magazine publication that I’m working on as well as book that will come out in early 2022 that I will be featured in – this is collaboration with Al-Tiba9 Contemporary Art whom I also worked with before and was featured on their website last year.
NY Glam: Can you share with us three favorite things about your city/culture?
Three of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles are: the people, all the cultural museums / institutions and the weather.
NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website
Sure, to learn more about my work visit:
My website www.karenkanas.com