Meet Karen Fox
“I am incredibly passionate about my work and believe continuing education and practice is paramount to mastering any craft.”
“The journey of self-discovery is full of twists and turns but also countless joy, wonder, and peace. It is the way to channel negative emotions into something more positive and beautiful. It is about finding the secret places that reveal the truth from the inside out. I strive to reveal the unseen and evoke or provoke emotion even in the mundane. There is beauty in every corner, you need only to stop and look.”
Where are you from?
I am a New England Native (born and raised in Connecticut on the shoreline).
Where do you currently live and how long have you lived there?
I landed in Fairview in 2003 by way of California. I fell in love with Tennessee and decided this was the place I would stay for the rest of my days! After many years of wandering it was comforting to find the place I wanted to call “home.” In 2015 I moved to Lyles with my husband and two daughters. My son attends college in Arizona. We have a variety of furry four-footed friends, and a handful of chickens.
What is your primary art genre, and how would you describe your current style?
Photography and digital mixed media. My style is yet evolving but leans toward photo-realism with a painterly twist.
How long have you been making your art?
I received my first camera at 7-years-old (I still have a few of those photos in a scrapbook!) I studied graphic design and media in college though did not achieve my degree due to an inability to stay in one place for more than five minutes. Wanderlust beckoned, I followed.
What was the pivotal moment that made you decide to follow your path as an artist?
My whole life I have sought creative pursuits of various kinds. While living in Florida I earned designation as an FTD certified floral designer (and love to take photographs of flowers). I was involved in music and theater throughout school. I also love needle felting and printmaking and am learning to oil paint. These creative pursuits allow me some balance and to get up from my desk and walk around in the three-dimensional world.
The pivotal moment for me was finally getting my hands on a camera again. This time, upgrading from 35mm SLR to DSLR. My passion ignited when the DSLR made it possible to merge two things that I love (photography & digital graphic design) and I hit the ground running and haven’t looked back.
What can you tell us about your process?
Every creation begins at the end of my lens. Some photographs are intentionally left pristine so that the hidden beauty of the subject may be exposed. Other images become the elements of inspiration for more painterly finished works. Many of my expressions are planned while others take shape as light, line, texture, and color reveal themselves.
My process is largely about experimentation and allowing the subject to speak for itself. Sometimes there is nothing more to be said but a few touchups and color corrections. Other times I am brought to a fantasy world that began somewhere on the edge of reality.
I use a variety of software titles, but my go-to titles are Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, DXO NIK Collection and Luminar 4. Recent additions to my software arsenal include the Topaz Studio suite of tools which are amazing for adding a final polish to images.
What are some of your favorite places where your work has been displayed?
One of the ways I have honed my craft is through image competition in state and national associations. I have been competing for two years at the state level and was thrilled this year to receive several awards for my images including Photographer of the Year from the Tennessee Professional Photographers Association. Additionally, a recent work will be featured in the Tennessee Wildlife Federation Calendar for 2021. I have recently had an image accepted into an exhibition with the Brentwood Photography Group which will be on display through the month of December at the Gordon Jewish Community Center in Nashville.
Who inspired you to do this work and/or who are your favorite artists or influences?
I find inspiration in many places and through many people. In the world of fine art a favorite is JMW Turner. His use of mixed paints and color I find awe-inspiring and otherworldly. I can get lost for hours in one of his paintings. I also am fond of Eliot Porter, a pioneer in color photography, his mix of texture and color in photographs are striking and bold. I also love the French impressionists and am fascinated by the works of Monet and Berthe Morisot and their use of color and texture. More recently I have begun to follow modern artists like Stanka Kordic and Zhaoming Wu whose work is anything but photorealistic but so free and easy yet precise and intriguing. I follow several award-winning photographic artists who constantly think outside the box and provide a wealth of inspiration. Each of them has a unique point of view and are fully dedicated to their craft. One of the things I find most inspiring about them is their willingness to share their failures along with their wins. It is such an important point to internalize that even those at the top of their game sometimes have an off day/week/month.
What work that you’ve done are you most proud of?
This year I entered PPA’s International Photographic Competition for the first time and two of my four images received a “Loan” designation which denotes excellence in image creation. These images will be featured in an upcoming publication These images will be archived as part of PPA’s permanent collection. As a first-time entrant I was incredibly thrilled to receive such an honor.
Is there a single work that you would like to be remembered for?
As of this moment I do not have one work that I would single out. I love each one for different reasons (and some are hidden away awaiting their voice). I don’t think that I am as interested in being remembered by the masses as I am in being remembered by my kids. I hope that I inspire them to create beautiful things and share them with the world. I would rather provoke inspiration, a thoughtful moment, or a smile than a memory of me. I’m just another traveler on this rock, here for a time and then gone. It is the mark we leave behind that is most important.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! All I do is open my eyes! Sometimes it is a pattern of light, a face–furry or otherwise, colors, textures, a sunset, flower or even a bug. It may be a rusted nail or a mossy rock sitting on a fence. Inspiration lives all around us, we just need to take a moment to stop and look.
What have you found to be your biggest challenge in making your art? Too many ideas! Not enough time, hard drive space, studio space, or hands!! (oh, and the lack of available funds for all the toys I’d like is also a factor).
What would you say your future goals include?
#1 on my wish list is studio space! I work mainly out of my small office and on location and would love to have a large space to call my own. Not having to lug around a car full of equipment everywhere would be so nice! Other than space, I’m not sure I have a goal beyond reaching for the stars, to take this journey as far as I can go.
Do you have any shows on the horizon?
With competition season behind us for this year I am on hiatus and planning images for Spring. I would love to invite anyone with an interest in taking their photography business to the next level to check out our local affiliates. TNPPA has an awesome group of people with a collective knowledge base that will never be found through YouTube videos. Our members are industry leaders with a desire to promote excellence in photographic arts. Our member’s specialties range from landscape to fine art to portraits and weddings with much more in between. Members are invited to attend both the Spring Workshop & Fall Convention at no additional cost besides hotel & food. (This year we will be in Pigeon Forge). Membership does not require an established business. We welcome aspiring members as well as students who desire to raise their craft to the next level.
What would you like to see happen in Fairview to build a better art community?
I love what has begun through the Fairview Arts Council. It is so wonderful to have a resource of so many talented artists, artisans, dancers, and musicians. It is pretty amazing to have a place to share the things that sometimes only fellow creatives can understand. I would love to see this community expanded in Fairview and the surrounding areas by promoting community art projects, more First Friday events and local displays or exhibitions.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much for the invitation to share my thoughts and discuss my craft. My husband thanks you as well for the time it took me to write this… during which he did not have to listen to me talk about focal planes, puppet warp, or shutter speed.