My Art Buddy Karen: An Illustrated Panegyric

Love Karen Hansen's playful WallHeart

I could have said paean or laudation or even, dare I, encomium, but panegyric was the big ass word I needed for this public praise piece about my Art Buddy Karen Hansen.

So, without tons of backstory, and letting the photos describe her ceramic art, what’s good about Karen as an Art Buddy?

What's she DOING in there? (Karen Hansen, greenware)

She’s Magnetic. It’s got to be about Frequency (or is it pheromones? I forget.) No matter, when I’m in classes with her, I want to know what she’s doing, thinking, making. It matters to me a whole bunch. Even though our styles are divergent, they’re sourced from similar resonances and I simply need to be around that to channel the muse and protect me from the detrimental energies in the room.

You know, deep down inside, TV is good for you! (TV Wall Plaque - Karen Hansen)

She’s Associative. That means that she collects her fascinations from nearly any quadrant and synthesizes them into enjoyable quirky meanings. A quick study of human foibles, she makes good fun of nearly every thing and every body. She’s facile with words and slippery thoughts. As a matter of fact, that might be her true medium. But it comes out in the clay too.

Half Empty? Half Full? Nope, just 1/2. Deal. (1/2 Lidded Jar - Karen Hansen)

She’s Versatile and Steady. Adaptive and Constant. Ever-changing and Predictable. Do I speak in parables and opposites? Yes. Because it’s true. I’ve probably quoted it before, but it was Steve Allen (or maybe Marshall McLuhan) who said, “The funny man (sic) is a man (sic) with a grievance.” If we go beyond the oppositions, we find the unifying core of humanity in both tragedy and comedy and I enjoy that skill in Karen.

Karen's Playland (or one of them...) Hey, I see that oil can back there!

She Brings It Basically it’s a Full Catastrophe Package with Karen. Equally capable of shop talk, philosophy, baudiness, pop culture or fine art references, and animal humor, she most humbly reveals her passions. She can simultaneously complain and assess, with chuckles. She buys my art, too, astounding me.

Skullheart, Pitfired babydoll head, Pillsbury Doughboy, Candies and dial tile...the beginning of my Karen Hansen art collection

Well, I mean to say I’m pretty fond of her. Art Buddies cannot be conjured. They ARE. I have a modest shelf of Karen’s treasures, pictured above. Some I traded with her, some I just purloined from her “extras.” Karen would modestly say these pieces reflect more about the eye of the beholder (me) than the maker (her), but I like them because they hold her special juju. Back to that vibe thing. And I want MORE stuff in this collection, especially of her newer work.

Polka Dots and Spirals for Everybody (Lidded Jar - Karen Hansen)

Fortunately for all of us, she recently entered the art market, a move I applaud. There’s her Etsy Shop, Polka Dot Clay Studio where you can see and buy lots more of her fun style for yourself. And there’s the Santa Cruz Open Studios Art Tour 2011, which we’re both still waiting to hear about our acceptance.

One Word: Birds (Lidded Jar - Karen Hansen)

Conspirators. Birds of a feather. Com-madres. That’s how I feel about knowing Karen and her art. Did I heap enough public praise? Did I use enough illustrations? I hope so.

Corazon Espinado in the most exquisite way. (Wallheart - Karen Hansen)

Thanks, Karen!

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