Karen Navarro Interview - The Hopper Prize

Karen Navarro

Karen Navarro on the organic evolution of a practice, the ephemeral nature of the digital era, & pursuing a journey of experimentation.

How did you get into making art?

When I relocated to the U.S. I had to pivot in order to keep working in the creative field. I transitioned from fashion design to fashion photography and then from fashion photography to fine art photography and mixed media.

My art practice has slowly and organically evolved. I first found myself wanting to experiment more because of the ephemeral nature of the digital era we are living in today and because I also felt that the work was asking for different materials. It has been an interesting journey of experimentation, of try and error, lots of hours spent in the studio. My work is now more process-oriented. A type of work that is made with my hands with a “craft-like” approach.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on “América Utópica”, a very exciting project that includes the community. The project uses crowdsourced skin tones and data to create mixed-media demographic portraits. Additionally, this project also investigates my own Indigenous identity–long erased and silenced.

The work speaks about race, migration, sense of belonging, and identity within digital and “real” communities.

I invite readers to learn more and take part in the project by submitting their images:

My art practice has slowly and organically evolved.

Karen Navarro

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

“América Utópica” was inspired by the 2021 events of social injustice in the United States and my experience as an immigrant of color.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

In regards to themes, I think specificity it’s important. In the beginning, my choices were not as conscious as they are right now.

I’m excited to dive into investigating my own identity supported by research and personal experiences.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

Tea, music, emails, meetings, work, errands, work!

Who are your favorite artists?

I am not a big fan of anything. I like Magritte, Yves Klein and Rupprecht Geiger a lot.

There are also many great contemporary artists that are making very important work. It’s inspiring!

Where do you go to discover new artists?

Instagram. I think it’s a great source to find interesting work.

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