Artist Karen Clark’s items on sale at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Karen Clark grew up in Massachusetts and spent summers on Cape Cod and in Maine, where she fell in love with the ocean and simultaneously developed a passion for art.
“I see art in everything. It’s the way I’ve always been. I feel grateful to experience the world in such a beautiful and visual way,” she told the News-Press.
Mrs. Clark gathers materials at the tideline for her current work of photographing the natural beauty of seaweed.
“While some might overlook seaweed as an art material or simply pass by it without a second glance, I’m drawn to it for its colors, textures and form. My photographic art involves layering and playing with the organic materials, typically on the very same day I find it, as the vibrancy of the colors fade if kept too long,” she said.
The artist will be offering her original photography printed on ready-to-hang metal canvas, as well as on cards and tea towels, at “Tideline Visions: The Art of Seaweed,” a pop-up show and sale, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25 on the patio at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way.
Featured will be 22 pieces of art as well as smaller items.
“I believe everyone should have access to original works of art so I remain dedicated to keeping my pieces affordable,” said Mrs. Clark, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Colorado in Boulder and came west and started a photography business.
She and her husband, Alan Clark, who is also an artist, are avid sea glass hunters and members of the founding committee of the Santa Barbara Sea Glass and Ocean Arts Festival.
“As artistic director for the festival, I am always working on finding artists that are the best in the country. Since I run social media, I am constantly discovering talents around the globe. My job is to keep the aesthetics interesting from the T-shirt designs to the whole visual flow.”
While Mrs. Clark spent much of her career as a professional photographer, she and her husband are also owners of Whimsy Antiques, a playful vintage shop in Carpinteria.
“After we bought our first home in Santa Barbara, we furnished it with vintage items we found at estate sales. Eventually, with a garage full of treasures, we took a space at a local antique mall and soon after opened Whimsy in Carpinteria,” she said.
“I have always identified with art and home decor. As far back as I can remember, I was rearranging rooms, homes and playing with decor. When I was a child, I would redesign my own room, and when my parents left the house, I’d redesign their furnishings,” said Mrs. Clark.
Whimsy is a lighthearted approach toward antiques and vintage.
“I have to absolutely love something in order to bring it into our shop. It has to speak loud and clear and evoke happiness within me. I love color. I love original paint. I love the way vintage items were made to last forever. I am a stylist, and my store is my canvas,” Mrs. Clark said.
“Creativity is my mantra. What sets us apart from others is the flow of the shop. It has sections and styles, and I love creating and changing it up often. We want the whole experience to be positive in our shop. We play vintage music that people seem to love and have been known to sing along and dance to it.
“With Whimsy, my passion for current livable vintage is key. What used to be ‘in’ a few years ago is not what I want in the shop. Trends and styles constantly change.
“I want an eye for design and artistic expression to always translate to a fun vibe that people can feel good about. If I achieve that, I am on the right track.”