Interview with Karen Newman-Studio Forty8

by Monika Blichar
There’s always been something really appealing to me about working with family. The appeal for me is that I get to work with someone I really love and care about and I get to spend more time with family doing something productive that helps all of us. It’s rare to find successful businesses that are family run these days but Karen Newman is making headway by working with her son at Studio Forty8. I caught up with her to learn more about her work and what guests can expect from her at this year’s Art World Expo Edmonton at Muttart Conservatory on March 16, 2018.
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1-When did you start making art?
I have been making art my whole life.  My Dad dabbled a little in painting when I was very young and started me early, to keep me busy I guess.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing something creative. I had hoped at one time it would be my full time career.  I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from York University,  but after graduating I didn’t feel that commercial work was for me.  I traveled and worked for a bit and then life and family took over and a career in the arts got put on the back burner.  Inspired by my teenage son Dylan, who has aspirations to be a professional artist himself, we started Studio Forty8 three years ago,  and I am back creating art on a regular (although part time) basis.
2-What is your favourite medium and why?
INK-the blacker the better!  I love the control and precision I have with fine liner pens like microns. I have recently started using claybord and am so thrilled with the ability to be able to ‘scratch’ in even finer lines and details than I could ever get with a pen.
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3-You use a lot of black and white in your work. Is there meaning behind the choice to use this combination?
Black and white is my preference purely for aesthetic reasons.  The high contrast and graphic quality of just using black and white really appeals to me.  I am strongly influenced by print makers and by telling a story with only line.   I had a client of mine sum it up perfectly as she admired on of my pieces at a show, she said “sometimes you just don’t need anything but black and white!”
4-What kinds of works will you have for show and sale at Art World Expo Edmonton? Will you have any show specials or contests?
I’m very excited about Art World Expo, the Muttart is a wonderful venue for my nature based work.  I will have original ink drawings on paper and claybord inspired by my backyard (literally).  I will be show casing my ‘Gilded Insect’ series which includes both originals and prints that have be hand tinted with metalic or irradescent inks.  As well, I will have a small preview from the paper product line that I am currently designing. I hadn’t really thought about doing any promotions but I will certainly take it into consideration and see if I can come up with something fun!
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5-Where do you want to see your business in five years?
It’s hard to imagine where this business will be in 5 years.  It was started with my son to help him get a taste of what being a professional artist would be like.  It has been a tremendous learning experience for both of us but in a few years he will be out on his own persuing his dreams and I will have to strike out on my own, too! This will be the first event I am doing without him (since he is under age) so I guess it will be a little taste of what things will be like in the future. I do really hope to be in a position where I can carry on doing this and reinvent myself as a one woman show…Studio Forty9 maybe?
6-Just for fun: What is your favourite childhood memory?
Wow!  Hard to pick specific memory…I would have to say camping trips with my family.  Always lots of adventures, laughs and learning new things!
To learn more about Studio Forty8, visit the Facebook Page and be sure to order your tickets to the Art World Expo Edmonton at the Muttart Conservatory! 

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