Header Image by Karen Cohen. "Suspended Animation"
INTERVIEW WITH KAREN COHEN
1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background?
I'm Karen Cohen, and I sign my work KElise. I've been drawing and painting since I was 7 years old. I started out drawing portraits and to an extent, I'm still doing it, only the portraits I create now are of the human condition, not of individuals. They focus on all the ways in which we, idealized and stripped down (literally and figuratively) are connected, emotionally, physically, psychologically, circumstantially... our essential commonality.
As an artist my background has been primarily self taught, but with the guidance of two Miami Artists, the late Eugene Massin and RC Bailey--to each of whom I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude.
2. What's integral to your art and or art career?
The connections between art and science, technique and technology; color.
3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?
My work is all conceptual. I start with the skeleton of an idea and develop it through several iterations and variations on a theme. Usually that translates into a series, each one elucidating another vantage point. In doing so, I hope to convey complex concepts via a series of single images. I don't tell the same "story" over and over, each successive piece must add to it--there's always something new to consider, a new thought-path to explore.
4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
The things that make me angry are making the same mistake more than once, and making mistakes because I'm either distracted or hurried. Things that make me happy are my family's and friends' happiness and success, doing good work, discovering awesome new things, experiencing bold, beautiful and exciting sensations.
Right: "The Wall Between Us"
5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?
Visionaries, new technologies and awakenings are the things that truly inspire me. I'm very sentimental, but not so much nostalgic. I don't spend a lot of time looking back because I'm not going in that direction.
6. What superpower would you want?
I would like to be able to time-travel.
7. What is your favorite artists and or other person?
I don't have any real "favorites." I do respect anyone who's at the top of his or her game and executes their "art" with confidence, humility and aplomb. But I also respect the artist who never stops exploring. I especially like artists whose work stops you from whatever you're doing and steals your attention--like a "startle" reflex--and immediately and spontaneously transports you to another reality. At the moment, my current hero is not an artist but the visionary Elon Musk who is changing the art and landscape of business while at the same time building products that reduce carbon emissions--electric vehicles and solar energy.
8. What advice would you give to other artists?
Work more on "why" you're creating than on "how." The how evolves into a recognizable style which is a function of matching your ideas with the techniques you develop to best convey them, combined with time and repetition.
9. Contact details if any?