Featured Artist – Karen Dickinson
What is your name (or the name you go by for your art)?
Professionally, I’m Karen Dickinson Studio but I am also known as karentillyart or Tilly art on social media. Tilly has been my nickname all my life.
Where do you live?
Leyland, Lancashire, England.
What’s your background?
I have painted since I was able to hold a paintbrush. In terms of my career, I studied and worked as a social worker for many years. I left to fulfil an ache in me to paint full time.
Which media do you prefer to work with?
I work with oil paints and try to use wood (recycled and from sustainable forests, of course) to complete my paintings. I love the way oil and wood combine with each other. It soaks in and the image becomes almost absorbed by the wood. I love building layers and oil and wood requires this.
How did you learn your craft, i.e. college, self-taught etc. and what did that entail?
That’s an interesting question. I believe in self-expression and nobody can teach you that, right? So, I suppose you can say I’m self-taught. Currently I am framing my paintings myself. I haven’t been to college to learn this craft; I’m learning as I go and, yes, making some mistakes, but that’s the best way to learn and I’m loving the experience and developing new skills so it’s great.
What does your work aim to say?
I love people’s stories and am fascinated by people and their lives. When I paint, I’m painting someone’s story. It’s why I like to work in series so I can tell the observer more of the story.
How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
Because my work is based on people’s stories it does comment on social issues. For instance, my “Last Geisha” series is inspired by the fact that this art form is disappearing. Our global society in some ways has encouraged acculturation (the process of ethnic groups or entire nations adopting the culture of another, more dominant people) and this amazing tradition – and lots of others, too – is being lost. My series “never be defeated” is based on a quote from Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” I love this because it highlights how we as humans continue to get back up again whenever we get knocked down. So, yes, social commentary plays a large part in my work.
Who are your biggest influences?
David Bowie, without a doubt. This amazing artist pushed boundaries and was an amazing self-expressionist. He never tried to conform, and nobody reinvented themselves more than he did.
How do you navigate the art world?
I’m at the start of navigating the art world, as I’m only just launching my website. Marketing is important and in today’s society social media is the best way to get your work seen by the global community. I want my work to be seen and my stories to be told so I suppose I have a road to walk in this regard, and I will rock and roll all the way.
Do you know where you are heading career-wise? What are your hopes for your future?
I’m unsure about the word “career” when it comes to my art. I’ve had a career; art is my life. It’s what I’m meant to do. I do want to sell and have sold some commissions. These have been paintings with specific requirements, so I suppose how I want to develop my work is to continue to paint what’s in my heart and for people to want to buy it.
I’m just about to launch my website and will be marketing that. I do want to show my work and will be exploring opportunities in the near future. I do want to sell; my stories should be on people’s walls giving them the joy they give me.
How do you seek out opportunities?
Currently I am building my website, having painted consistently for 18 months so I have been a little busy to be seeking opportunities. I will be looking at showing my work through exhibitions and galleries and possibly entering some competitions in the near future.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
I haven’t cultivated a collector base yet. Answers to this question would be gratefully received.
How do you price your work?
I charge by the square inch for all my paintings and add the cost of my materials and the frame. For my Limited Edition prints, I charge 5% of the original painting plus costs and post and packaging.
Which current art world trends are you following?
I’m not sure I’m following any art world trends at the moment. I love all art and if something speaks to me, especially on social media, I will follow it.
Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out?
There are no “rules”. Use your own self-expression. Only you can create what you create; you are unique.
How can readers find out more about you e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc?
website: Karen’s site is due to launch in June, so check for an update on my own website. www.alisongsaunders.art I will update the info as soon as it is available.
The website details for Karen’s new website:- karendickinsonstudio.co.uk
Facebook: Karen Dickinson
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