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June 15, 2004

{     Interview : Karen Ingram     }    

Karen Ingram is an illustrator, designer, and animator currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to being a news editor for such acclaimed art and design centered websites as K10k and Designiskinky, Karen maintains several of her own online web spaces thru which she showcases her work in it's many mediums. Browsing her professional portfolio, you'll see work which has been featured in countless magazines, as well as done for companies such as MTV, Virgin, Absolut Vodka, and Spike TV.

Karen has developed a soothing and unique style of illustration which bleeds sophisticated style. A look that would be just as at home in Wallpaper magazine as it would in Vibe or even Thrasher, it is a beautiful blend of classically detailed textbook illustration and the type of summer sunshine whimsy that you might find sketched in the back of an 8 year-old girl's diary.

Get to know a little about Karen Ingram!

Shane: How would you describe your personal style?
Karen: I like to draw so I think that plays a major role in my work. I'm not to good at describing style, but I like to scrutinize things as I make them...so I guess it's fairly detailed and somewhat painterly. I like to keep the "paper" in there, the rough edges and the smudges. Nothing too perfect.

How has your design style evolved over the years?
Things change, inspirations change. I used to paint a lot but lack of space and time have made me focus more on drawing, and that's made my work a little more detailed than it was 10 years ago. I am not sure if that's really an evolution or just a change. I guess a clear evolution would be I have a much better handling of the digital tools now, especially illustrator.

What most makes you reach for your paper and pencil?
It just comes natural. Most of the things I draw are based on observation, so it's like studying and relaxing at the same time. I also don't have cable, so that helps a little, though I do enjoy drawing in front of the tv sometimes. There's nothing like a good horror movie to kick up the creative juices!

What mediums do you work in?
Pencil, Marker, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, tape, string...

Where all are you involved online?
My work can be seen in lots of places, but some of the places I contribute to online are reservocation.com, K10k.net, designiskinky.net, and I'm a member of heavy-backpack.com and infourm.com...

What about offline?
As far as art organizations and communities go, most of my involvment circulates around online stuff. I've had a nimber of pieces printed in books and magazines. Most recently some of my work and an interview I conducted with Nago Richardis were published in Design is Kinky's new print magazine, "EMPTY"

Have you shown in any galleries?
Yes, but I'd like to do it more. I recently sold a print at Yen Magazine's all-girl "CURVY" showcase in Sydney.

Do you collaborate a lot with others? How?
Yes--i like to co-lab. especially if the other person has different strengths from myself. It's also fun if they are the same, though. I have done successful co-labs w/ Jemma Gura and Sarah Ancalmo and I consider us to have simular skills, though we have different styles.
I like to use music that's been made by my pals for my work. I've used a lot of things made by 2 friends, Megan Sullivan and John Owens, who made music under the name Apsu.

What two things keep you creating?
boredom and love

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything.
But specifically anatomy books, nature, the energy and intensity of NY.
I get inspiration from very unlikely sources though, like things in the news. Sometimes I'll hear or read something that makes me want to illustrate it.

Are you a big city kind of girl, or do you dig the sticks?
Both. I've found myself in other cities, more recently Toronto, where I am walking down the street very aggressively, that is to say that I cut people off, and weave around, thorough crowds, even if there is no reason to be in such a rush. Seems like in NY I am always rushing...or always late. Probably both. I enjoy not owning a car and everything being convenient, but at the same time, the city eats up a lot of time.
I miss the trees and the privacy of more rural areas, though, and the clean air...

Do you collect anything? If so, what and why?
Fruit stickers...I find the whole process of farming and distribution fascinating. Fruit stickers are a pretty example of this. I am sometimes amazed at the intricate designs they manage to fit in such a small space.
I have also managed to obtain a small collection of red sandalls...and I also collect my reciepts for taxing purposes.

What is your greatest weakness? I totally won't not put it on the website.
Sweets! Sweets sweets sweets. Baked goods, especially.

Okay, here's some of the nitty-gritty quickie questions. What would you say are your most vital possessions?
I don't consider myself to be a very materialistic so there isn't anything that's really vital.
The tools I use to make stuff are pretty important. My keys and my boots are also very important to me.

What are listening to these days?
For some reason, I listen to a lot of talk radio. I also listen to the Durham NC radio station on the Web because my sister has a show there and WFMU out of New Jersey. The most recent CDs I bought were Shortstack, which it's label claims is "americana roots rockabilly. Think a less gothic Cramps" and Manatoba's "Up in Flames".

Reading?
The most recent book i finished and enjoyed was Glamorama by Brett Easton Ellis. I go through phases where I read alot and now I am going through a dry spell. I always read The New Yorker, though. I have a subscription.

What artists are you enamored with at the moment?
All the artists I know, for sure. I am also a great fan of Yuri Norstien

Want to ask yourself a question, and then answer it?
What fun would that be? I'd already know the answer...that would be no fun. Was that a trick question?

Any upcoming projects that you just gotta tell us about?
I am superstitious and I am afraid I'll jinx myself!

Any last things that you've just gotta get off your chest?
WHY CAN'T I EAT TACOS EVERY DAY?
Heh.
Oh yeah - I am not Australian...I live in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in North Carolina. I've been to Australia 2x but I don't think that qualifies me as a resident...heh.

    » View Karen's formal portfolio KarenIngram.com.
    » Check out the beautiful animation at Krening.com.
    » Finally, view Karen's illustration portfolio available at Alt.Pick.


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