Karena Massengill – Art and Cake

May 19, 2024 - Art

Karena Massengill
San Pedro, CA
Age 71

What keeps you excited in the studio?
I love to explore as I take risks and face my fears. The discovery process is incredibly exciting for me. When I am in the flow all else disappears and time does not exist. Sometimes it is revisiting ideas from the past and at others, the challenges of creating combining unique materials to paint my passions and heartfelt concepts are the stimulating factors.

Looking back at your trajectory as an artist, how would you say your work has developed?
My work has largely been governed by circumstances within my life. After getting my BFA in the United States, I lived and worked outside of the country in Canada for 11 years. During this time I always had a studio and was pretty much a starving artist relying on visiting artist gigs in Toronto schools. Thank you Inner City Angels! Another major change in direction in my work came when I became trained as a welder-fitter by the Canadian government. From travels to foreign places including up the Amazon a thousand miles on a cargo ship to a safari in Africa, these and many other exotic places have influenced my creative practice.

What role do you think the artist has in today’s society?
I believe as artists, we need to use our voices to try and encourage people to see outside of themselves. When most successful, we maybe even inspire them to become more aware and sensitive to the world in which we live.

What’s the most important advice you could give to an aspiring artist?
Listen to your heart and do not be afraid to take risks! And do not beat yourself up if you fall on your face. Be inspired to continue believing in yourself and making art, NO MATTER WHAT! Find a way to make a living so you are be able to focus on your art practice without constantly worrying about where your next buck to feed and clothe yourself will come from. You will not be able to develop your creative potential otherwise.

Does age matter in art? Why or why not?
Age gives perspective but does not mean as artists we are superior. We have some benefits and some disadvantages. It balances out as long as we are grateful for everyday that we can continue to create.

What can we look forward to from you next?
As long as I can take a breath, I will continue to create and face my fears. I always have different groups of series that may appear to be unrelated upon first glance but have a continuity that is intangible in words. This is what will always be next for me.

Is there anything else you would like to share about being an artist later in life?
At times I am impatient that my energy levels are not what they used to be. I remind myself to be grateful and not beat myself up if I have not accomplished all that I would like to have done. I think this is very important for all of us to remember and it allows us to be happy and fulfilled as we continue on our creative journey.


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