Kari grew up in a log cabin in the middle of the Maine woods. At night after all the farm chores were done, her father would read out loud from his library and she would draw.
From the beginning, stories were integrated into Kari's visual world. She drew whatever she could imagine, often drawing to understand, drawing places and people from literature, from her family and from the world around her.
Kari's illustrations are inspired by the mysterious and magical and influenced by children’s literature. Her studio work is informed by music and dance, as she studied for years as a classical, ballroom and improvisational dancer. Rich, vibrating pools of color hold and sculpt her figures. Translating (or extending) her internal experience, Kari creates images that explore sentience, intimacy and personal stories. Her images often tell non-linear stories and hover on the edge of déjà vu. The feelings range from contented union to separation and dislocation.
Kari received her BFA in painting from the Portland School of Art in Maine, studied printmaking in Edinburgh, Scotland and received an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has a beautiful sun-filled studio in an old train station.
- Carolina Alumni Review
- Spirituality and Health Magazine
- The New York City Ballet
Q & A
What was your most creative assignment?
A number of years ago, I was working on a children’s book project. The main characters were five children that the author had made into dolls. I took the dolls to locations and photographed them doing things and then worked from the photographs. I got a lot of response from the people in my town to the characters I was creating. It was a lot of fun and felt collaborative with the people who responded to the dolls and helped to make them come alive.
What is your favorite assignment anecdote?
I came home one day to find my cat laying on my white bed cover with little red footprints everywhere. Thinking she had cut her paw, I soothingly took her in my arms only to find that her feet were covered in red paint. Tracing the red prints through the house to the studio, I found she had walked through my palette of alizarin crimson and all around the studio and across several pieces I was working on. Needless to say, “my cat ruined it” was the excuse of the day.
If you had to live in a world with just one color, what would it be?
I would have to say green. It is a color I wouldn’t grow tired of while still not dictating my mood as strongly as would blue or red.
Who is your favorite illustrator?
Antoine De Saint-Exupery (author of Le Petit Prince).