Karen Wise - Prestbury’s fashion designer turned artist


Tango - Credit: Archant

Artist Karen Wise on her her colourful work and life

Glamour Girls

Glamour Girls - Credit: Archant

‘I was really interested in clothes in my youth, their fantastic designs and the creativity attached,’ said Karen Wise, who initially undertook a course in fashion design in Manchester at the start of her career. ‘I stayed with that for a while, but then found myself going into different career directions.’

After realising that she missed the art world and her creative output, Karen went back to be inspired once more and it became a real passion. ‘I was constantly, and still am, attending still life and live art classes,’ said Karen. ‘I am part of the Chorlton painters group and a Stockport Art Guild member as I really enjoy the atmosphere of a group session. You can help one another and chat to other likeminded artists about things like paintbrushes!’

Karen, who moved to Prestbury just over ten years ago, initially studied under painter and sculptress, Golda Rose, for eight years, honing her own original style for painting.

‘Golda’s art classes really developed my imagination,’ said Karen. ‘You could go on a free route, discover things and tap into your own individual style. It was really good.’

Girls Night

Girls Night - Credit: Archant

Very much a figurative artist, Karen uses her art as a way to express mood and emotion. She says it is not just painting a portrait of a person, but that you can look behind the image for emotional truth and a different interpretation: ‘I like to go a bit deeper,’ Karen said. ‘Colour and the application of colour is an amazing thing. It’s not just about the sitting, a painting is also about you. I start off with a controlled idea but then abstract from there and that’s the interesting thing when the colours go out of control.’

Karen’s paintings are mainly crafted using water-based materials such as ink, acrylics and watercolours. They have been featured in several art exhibitions, including a 1996 solo show at the Portico, Manchester and in the Gorstella Gallery, Chester in 2000. ‘I take part in different opens around the county from Stockport to Chester and Warrington. Since I began exhibiting I just went from strength-to-strength.’

So much so that Karen was shortlisted for the Daily Mail’s ‘Not the Turner Prize’ in 2003 and her work was displayed in London’s Mall Galleries. ‘I enter these things and never think I will actually get anywhere with it!’ she laughed. Her work has also found various homes with collectors across the Atlantic: ‘I have a few collectors who bought my work in New York and Chicago,’ said Karen. ‘One collector even visited me when he was over in the UK, I was really pleased.’

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Currently, Karen’s work is on display in Gastronomy in Hale and she has just taken part in East Cheshire Hospice’s art fair at Macclesfield town hall. ‘I have gone down many different roads,’ said Karen. ‘But without my various experiences, I wouldn’t be the contemporary figurative artist I am today.’

Karen Wise

Karen Wise - Credit: Archant