Artist and printmaker Karen J Revis is living her passion and continuing her family’s legacy of design and craftsmanship. From her studio in Harlem, Karen explores color, texture and abstraction through a wide variety of fine art techniques. She has had the pleasure of studying under several printmaking masters as well as attending residencies at BACAS in Teggiano, Italy and The Morgan Paper Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio.
While working with A-Street Prints to translate her art into her debut wall mural collection, Karen shared more about how life and her own personal experiences have shaped her work:
When did you first fall in love with design?
It’s hard to say! My mom was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart. I remember how exciting it was to pick out the paint color for my bedroom and then choose all the matching accessories, like sheets and artwork. My mom also made some of my clothes and going to the fabric store to pick out matching fabrics was thrilling!
What first brought you professionally to the art world? Did you plan on making a career out of your passion, or did you find yourself here over time?
My father was a goldsmith. Growing up visiting his studio and watching him work, I knew that creating was what my family did. In my early twenties, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a jewelry designer. I went to art school so I could work on my portfolio: I took a painting class and never looked back; I fell in love with visual art.
How would you describe your style? Do you have a predominant style, or does your inspiration and artistic process at the time shape your work more than a dedication to a particular look?
I’m sure that I have a style, however, it’s not intentional. I think I am too close to my work to see it. I’ve played with a lot of different printmaking techniques over the years, and I pick the one that helps me say what I want to say.
At the moment, I’m making a lot of collages. I’ve been making prints of small things for years and I’ve kept them all. Little stories are presenting themselves as they lay around together in my studio. I think I’ve been saving them all waiting for the right moment, and it’s honestly so exciting!
What do you find most exciting about translating your work into a mural?
Obviously, I am a fan of art in the home, and I am crazy-in-love with wallpaper! So, for me, designing murals was incredibly exciting! I tend to make art on a smaller scale, which I think has a lot to do with living in New York where space is a commodity. Having the immediacy of my work directly on a wall - translated into a new, grand scale - is not bad at all!
Where there any challenges with scaling your pieces to this new size and medium?
The main challenge was wrapping my head around the process, especially since each design represents a different technique: Waves are a silkscreen monoprint, Roses are block prints and Lines are trace monoprints. The A-Street Prints team patiently helped me look at my work and see the possibilities. The murals are a great translation too – they’re pretty much exactly like the original artwork itself!
What is the most exciting aspect about this collection and partnership with A-Street Prints? What are you hoping to achieve with this collaboration?
This collection makes it possible for everyone to enjoy the hand of the artist in a different way. And thanks to this collaboration with A-Street, I have more skills I can build on to explore new creative possibilities across my works.