Karen Stamper

After attending Art College in Yorkshire, Karen headed south, with her sketchbooks in hand, to far sunnier climes; Turkey, Greece, India, Morocco, the Caribbean and then eventually settling in New Zealand, before returning to the UK, ten years later. Along the way, she crewed yachts, painted scenery for Indian celebrations, taught art, worked as a freelance illustrator and studied yoga in Pune; constantly sketching and collecting a rich resource of tickets, labels, packaging, stamps, paper bags and scraps of lettering; each one telling its own story.

Karen is drawn to new places, people (and boat yards); to the colours and the light of the Mediterranean, Morocco and India; all of which are implicit in her art. Working in collage, combining the found papers with layers of brightly painted tissue, to create a vibrant, integrated surface, reflects her life and travels; a patchwork of places and people bonded together; some fading, some peeling, some permanent; all full of joyful colour and happy memories. Karen's aim is to transport the viewer to a warmer climate of intense colours and exotic smells, hazy, zapping heat and sun scorched walls.

Her bold and joyful collages, based on her travels, may look like paintings but if you look closely, you will see they are skilfully built up using layers of found papers, tissue and acrylic paint. She sees the beauty in simple scraps and ripped edges, accidental marks and worn surfaces. By simplifying and flattening space with paper shapes, she recomposes, conceals and reveals, deliberately avoiding representational clarity. She takes her inspiration from architecture, weathered walls, tiled floors, decorative motifs and lettering of foreign lands. A section of text, can give clues to the narrative or simply be used for design alone and a brightly coloured paper shape, will often dictate the ambiance of a piece.
Karen wants to capture the memory of a place and the sense of human presence, echoing the passing of time. This is a controlled, yet intuitive, direct approach that allows her a huge amount of freedom to interpret her travel sketches, in a lively and original way.


‘Whitby Boats I’ Mixed Media on Canvas Unframed 50.5 cm x 25.5 cm SOLD



Whitby Boats II’ Paper, Mixed Media on Canvas Unframed  50.5 cm x 25.5 cm £480