Washington, D.C.


I started out studying physics and wanting to become a professor. After teaching high school math and science in a slum outside Nairobi, Kenya, I returned to the States knowing that the knowledge I shared in my classes had very little to do with the aspects of my students’ lives I cared about most–poverty, health, and their general quality of life.  I decided to finish my degree in writing, believing it the best means of making a difference, but words, like formulas and equations, didn’t help me understand these things better or participate in the kind of meaningful conversations I craved.

While I made art of all kinds growing up, it became much more than play when I started working with recycled materials. What does our stuff say about us and the ways we move around in the world? How do we decide what, even who (i.e., my African students), is important and gets our attention? My passion involves playing with things others throw away and making art that asks more questions than it answers.  I found my means of participating in a dialogue that connects us all.

Artist Statement

I create art out of common, everyday things.  From discarded clothing to junk mail, I’m motivated by the context of a material—its original purpose and place in our lives as well as the many hands and ideas involved in its creation.  It’s sustainable in practice but, more importantly, fueled by a fascination of the elements we most cherish and wish to preserve in ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Elevator Pitch

I create art from common, everyday things–items we pass by and throw away.  I “make paint” by breaking these materials down, seeking out color and shape, and putting them back together again in ways that help tell stories about what we value and why it matters.  It’s all about celebrating what we’re made of.



Profile picture of Karen


active 5 months, 3 weeks ago