Family info: married; BROOKS 32 years; Son; JACK (24) daughter; LUCIE (22)
Name of your Business: Brilliant Studio
How would you describe your work?
Visual artist splitting time between Rye/San Antonio/Marfa, TX Studio practice focuses on visual intersections of the natural world and the built environment. This creates opportunities for conversations about environmental issues and our impact; both positive and negative.
Before becoming an artist, did you have another career? What did you do?
Yes, I was an interior designer for 30+years.
How did you get started as an artist?
Art making has been a constant in my life, but I started my professional studio practice as a result of an opportunity for a solo show in 2008. That first body of work dealt with issues around flooding and how it affected the feeling of home.
What type of art do you create, and what mediums do you prefer to work with?
My process varies depending on the series and the intent behind the work. I often incorporate wax, resin, soil, pollen and rust into my pieces and they are considered mixed media. Currently, I ave been focused on how plants are used to phytoremediate soil contamination. This series is fundamentally botanical illustration, but I am pushing it beyond a traditional process to incorporate collage, alternative materials and with some of the works, imagined botanical species that have self-hybridized into a type of novel species.
How do you balance your artistic pursuits with your responsibilities as a mother?
My children are now officially out of the nest, so my time is divided by other demands and in different ways from when I was a working parent. When they were younger it was much more difficult. Having a studio at home ultimately was the best solution for solving after-bedtime-late night-work-sessions. Working for myself also helped manage the calendar so I could be available for field trips, games and other daytime commitments. I think the challenges are the universal ones for all working parents….. Time, time, time!
Can you share some insight into your creative process? Where do you find inspiration for your artwork?
I get most of my ideas from environmental issues, academic research, articles and botany podcasts. I am particularly interested in how scientific content can be communicated through art.
Are there any specific themes or messages that you like to convey through your artwork?
Absolutely. What can we learn through our relationship with the natural world. We are on in the midst of the sixth extinction and our actions matter.
How has being a mother influenced your artistic style or the subject matter of your art?
I want them to see that my efforts are a positive contributing dialogue to the larger conversation. What world are they inheriting?
Do you involve your family in your artistic process? If so, how do they contribute or participate?
They are incredibly supportive but the artmaking is a solo sport. Some things are hard to delegate.
What role does art play in your life as a mom?
Mostly that I endeavor to make them proud of me.
Have you collaborated with other local artists or organizations in your community?
I have led workshops through the Marfa ISD, CASA and The Contemporary SA. I look forward to ways of getting involved in Rye now that we are here each year May-October.
What are some of the highlights or achievements you've had in your artistic career so far? Any particular milestones you're proud of?
I love having opportunities to have solo or two person shows where I control the narrative. I also received a certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the NYBG. I started the program during the covid and feel it was ultimately a positive pivot that I would not have had the time for if not for all that isolation!
How do you stay motivated and inspired during times when creativity feels elusive?
It is all about a daily studio practice. Bodies in motion stay in motion. I try to do some work everyday. I am fortunate to be truly curious, so inspiration is literally found everywhere if you just take time to SEE.
Have you faced any criticism or skepticism about your art? How do you deal with negativity?
I think being an artist and putting your work out for others to consume is hard. I try to focus on the purity of my intent. Because my children are so proud and supportive, this gives me the courage to share my work publicly.
What advice would you give to another mom who wants to pursue her passion for art but feels hesitant or overwhelmed?
If you have an authentic voice and can answer the question of “why” YOU want to make the work, then you should. It helps to find other artists working and showing their work. Become involved in the arts organizations that support artists.
How do you handle self-doubt or creative blocks that may arise in your artistic journey?
Jerry Saltz is fond of saying “Just do the work you big old babies.” Think he is onto something?
Where do you see yourself and your art in the future?
I just want to stay on the current path, not get derailed and continue to build my following.
Follow Kari at: https://www.instagram.com/kari_englehardt/