Thursday, September 29, 2011

Karyn is interviewed by Eclectix!
Karyn Crisis, Eclectix Interview 24

Posted on September 29, 2011 by eclectixart

Eclectix first became aqquainted with Karyn a couple of years ago, when she came into the gallery, hair swinging, toting some killer leather works – gothic purses and cuffs. They were obviously crafted by someone with an artist’s eye and a gypsy soul – offbeat, with beautiful quality and embracing the darkness of life. Karyn has a huge energy about her, a quick intelligence and the creative verve to let her freak flag fly. A self-taught artist, she shared some of her paintings and professed that she wanted to concentrate more on them in the future. Luckily, she has been able to, cranking out some powerful Tarot works in her beloved oils, just this past year.
Karyn’s solo show “The Major Arcana” opens October 1st at SR2 Gallery in Berkeley, CA. ( thru Oct. 31st)

Could you give us a little about your background? I’ve always felt out of time and place on this planet. I’ve been able to see and communicate with spirits since I was young- but it scared me then and I’m able to embrace it now. I feel as if all my past lives are being remembered in this lifetime. I don’t look back often, but when I do, I realize just how much I’ve done so far. Having left my touring metal band of 13 years (Crisis) in 2005, I started over as a painter, shaman, Reiki Master Teacher, clairvoyant. My favorite chapter of my life is the current one, with my creative and talented husband and our cat. Music and a Tuscan witch brought us together and keep us moving forward in a creative, magical lifestyle. I made a living selling my paintings and custom leather work a few years ago, until my husband gifted me an art studio and the time to paint for painting’s sake – to get my technical skills where I want them, and to decide what I want to paint without worrying about selling my work. My work now is devoted to Witchcraft culture (European shamanism, healing modalities, and rituals).

Can you tell us a little about your creative process? I visualize a painting and the most important thing is to capture an action and decide the purpose of the painting. I see it in my mind’s eye, complete. I create her face, decide who she is, what her tools and colors will be and what exactly her intent or action is, then I draw it out with as much detail as possible. I then take a photo of myself for lighting reference and lines of hands, etc. From there, I often refer to fashion magazines or my favorite jewelry designers to use their clothing and jewelry pieces as inspiration. I also use a lot of my own ritual tools (changing them just a bit) and clothing. Then for the oil painting process, I build the canvas, draw the painting on, beginning with a burnt-sienna underpainting. From there, I paint the drawing in burnt umber, adding some shadows. Then I build with layers of greens, blacks and whites… it’s a bastardization of the Verdaccio technique. Throughout the process I get feedback from my husband. He knows what I’m trying to do without my having to say a word, and he’s got a talent for objectivity. I can get overambitious or not know when to stop painting and he reels me back in.

My favorite art memory from my childhood is… floating, out of my body, above my mother and myself. I was sick, lying in bed in my favorite corduroy navy and flowered overalls. Another memory is making potions in our backyard with plants and dirt.

My interest in art/painting started … I was little, watching my mom paint. I was always drawing. Always. And dreaming. She took my sister and I into Chicago often to the museums and galleries. The modern art wing was very dark, art-wise, it was very serious and it scared me. I was hooked.

I am often inspired and motivated by… my struggles. My frustrations with myself become quite a force for transformation. I am my own worst enemy, and when I’m stuck or overrun by an emotion, I’m inspired to use energywork to undertand, to listen, to learn. These modalities give me almost more to see and experience than my waking eyes. And one of my spirit guides and I work together on visualizing my painting concepts.

If I could spend the day with any artist (dead or alive) it would be… Anselm Kiefer (below) And we would… make his giant tar books together.

The tip or art technique (a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise) that has helped me the most is …. ”verdaccio”. An artist described this technique in a magazine interview and it changed my understanding of painting dramatically. Also, while painting, I find myself asking “what do you see” constantly, looking more intently at my reference photo, and with each layer redefining my lightest and darkest points.
(Eclectix note: ”Verdaccio” is an underpainting technique which came from the Italian fresco painters of the early Renaissance. Created traditionally from a mixture of Mars Black and Yellow Ochre pigments, Verdaccio was used to establish tonal values in fresco painting quickly, creating a soft greenish-gray for the shadows of flesh tones.)

If I could own one piece of art, out of the world’s collections, it would be …I’ve never been one to covet “things“. I don’t put alot of energy towards having “things”, but maybe I should! I’m more about wanting to create, to do, to accomplish, and to experience. BUT, if I had the money, I’d pay a good amount of it for some antique Strega Grimoires. ( A book describing magical beliefs and practices, for a female witch)

My favorite piece of my own art is… Witch’s Wands (above) because… I still can’t believe I painted it. In fact, my newer paintings feel like they paint themselves.

My ultimate project or fantasy is … to have my art in museums along with witchy installations, and to tour with my husband. The more we learn about legacies like Egypt, the Maya, etc, we learn all our ancestors had a spiritual system that helped them accomplish great things that they couldn’t have learned just on their own as a human. Call it religion, spirituality, shamanism, witchcraft, they’re culturally relevant systems deserve a visual voice.

The last song I choose to listen to was… a new one Davide is writing for Ephel Duath, and a new one for my solo album.

The last book I couldn’t put down was …. The Cauldron of Memory by Raven Grimassi.

My favorite word is… molto, fuck (you can use it in so many ways!)
I can’t live without …my husband

It’s not hip, but I really love … to study pigments and their properties. I will research the history of pigments, what their updated versions are made of and what they do. I love to study systems of all sorts. I had a photography teacher who gave me some great advice while reeling in my experimental photography efforts: “learn how to do things properly and well, then you can do whatever you want with it.”

I’ve been someone to whom things “happen”…I want to paint and “poof”, it happens. I want to do something else and “poof” it comes easy. It’s getting the outcome to present itself with my standard of quality and intensity that is difficult. Being able to recreate that first intuitive magic had also been difficult, until I learned that there’s more to an experience than the “happening” of it, the “being”…which is the technique behind. Learn the technique, or the system, and you can navigate better. I used to think, to demand, that my expression should come naturally, that “poof” I should be able to create a perfect painting each time, and I snubbed my nose at learning technique. Now I’ve found that learning a technique, that I can understand, gives me the freedom to let the painting happen by getting my own bad habits out of the way!

My favorite motto is… you must be certain of your power.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Justice Tarot almost-finished painting.

BloodMilk's Eagle Talon Crescent Moon.
The Black BloodMilk Crow Claw Davide bought me
For many years, I did not feel an affinity for jewelry: my idea of adornment was wearing found animal bones, or a rare metal talisman (like the bronze Medusa charm someone gave me years ago). I've not been a person so intent on having "things" or collecting "things" other that ritual -type things but more often found natural objects...but maybe because I was in a touring band for 13 years, thus more of a nomad than a person who could settle into a home to house things. Also, so much jewelry available seemed to be overly feminine and not have some masculinity thrown in there for balance.That changed a few years ago, and I began to notice jewelry made by new designers, which had a very handmade feel, a sense of antiquity like a secret treasure. I look for pieces that have a ritual function and visual appeal. My favorite ongoing collection by far is Blood Milk. Metalsmith Ms Schnabel has blown me away with her talents for precise detail, bold and big designs, embracing the old and the new, and her love of the "supernatural" (a spychic I admire scolded me for using that word. She said there' nothing "super" about it, it's just our natural way to be, pure and simple). Each piece has that wonderful ritualistic feel, and a deep sense of love in its crafting. One of the touching aspects is her use of animal bones and claws to create moon crescents and pentacles and crosses and other symbols of energy portals and transmitters. In this combination I find a Universal balance of masculinity and femininity and great natural power. The prefect gems for a witch! I find them so inspiring that I've included them in two of my Tarot paintings: Justice and the Chariot, and I'm sure they'll appear in future works.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SR2 Gallery & Sacred Rose Tattoo are Pleased to Present "The Major Arcana: Work by Karyn Crisis"

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 1st, 2011 6pm – 9pm
Artist Bio:
Karyn began oil painting in 2006, after leaving her touring band of 13 years, Crisis. She has been obsessed with the idea of "inner demon/darkness" as a power source, and with facing it as a process of self-acceptance en route to enlightenment; the inner demon and its role as teacher and guide to empowerment via self-knowledge, forgiveness, and unity for a higher good.

Karyn sees light in dark places.

She has chosen to express, through her art, this dark side, the power within it, and the controversial beauty therein. She uses archetypes in her paintings and drawings, whose power and beauty have universally been both admired and feared, and whose images have been molded into harmless, quiet, passive or evil symbols, despite their terrifying and benevolent truths: Angels, Witches, and Mythological Women. Karyn also incorporates her first-hand experience with these beings as a Medium, Clairvoyant, and Seer.

The exhibition runs October 1st, 2011 – November 1st, 2011
Gallery Hours: Monday – Sunday 12pm – 8pm

1728 University Ave
Berkeley, California 94703
510.883.1083 is now live!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Magus in-progress

Click on photo for larger image...more coming soon!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tarot Paintings..more in-progress photos

Sunday, September 4, 2011

State of Mind

Today is the first day I took a break from painting. I "rested" with gemstones, taking a much-needed recharge, at the same time using transmitter stones. I had an intense lucid dream. Afterwards, I began to think of all the paths of interest I've followed in my life thus far, reflected on how they were aspects of past-lives trying to lead me back to remembering myself in this life, and I began to think about my earliest memories...which are of me painting as a child and thinking about Van Gogh.

Then I remember when started painting again in 2006 (hadn't really painted in 10 years up to that point aside from painted photographs). I immediately began to paint large, and at the time I listened to music when I painted: to keep me going, to keep my mood up during long, long hours or difficult passages, to keep the energy flowing. However, I found that music influenced me too much emotionally and took my focus off the painting. For example, a certain song made me feel so powerful..yet when i'd stand back and look at what I painted I'd be disappointed by what was there. I realized the emotion of the music was taking me places, almost altered states, as painting can do as well, yet it was taking away from the outcome of the painting sessions rather than adding to.

Now I paint with no music. The painting is the joy itself, and I ride out all the ups and downs and push through...even during the 12th hour of exhaustion and onto the 15th. While I feel in trance alot of the time, I am also very alert and present, and I feel one foot in this world and one beyond the veil. It's a very natural place for me, and it's how I live much of my days, but a relatively new experience during painting. I hear the words of advice "paint what you see" alot, and I pay great attention to color choice and what is happening between my eyes and brush, yet it feels like the painting is painting itself. Being self taught, i feel a huge difference in the way i paint now, and it's become an intensely meditative experience. Meditation doesn't mean it's all "peace and light", it means there is intense work being done within and nowhere to run from it. This is what I'm experiencing every day for 15 hours each day for the last month and a half. I am also feeling the presence of the "Guardians" of the Tarot, or "The Council" as I call them, and I'll write more about this later.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I have a piece in this Group Art Show !!

Saturday, September 17 at 8:00pm - September 18 at 1:00am
Everybody Bikes
1352 Irving Street
San Francisco, California 94122
Created By
Hiro Hayashi
More Info
Saturday, Sept 17, 2011
8pm ~ 1AM
Location: Everybody Bikes
1352 Irving Street
(btwn 14 and 15 ave)
San Francisco, Ca 94122

Description: "All TOGETHER NOW" is a group show representing all different kinds of artworks that different types of people have created. No theme. No Rules. No medium restrictions. It is going to be a room full of different types of artworks from illustrations, paintings, sculptures to prints. Also we will be having live music playing by Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken and Ghost Town Jenny.


Andrew Bower
John Fox Haag
Kyana Holzman
Bopp Killer
Andrew Luck
Jonathan Le
Frank Pastor
Pete Warren
Julie Seltzer
Kat Martin
Natan Van Den Heever
Paul Kalcic
Mary Kalcic
Melissa Davidson
Michael Berninger
Sarah V
Kimberly Larson
Bradley Platz
Karyn Crisis

Music By:
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
Ghost Town Jenny

DRINKS!!!...FOOD!!!..LIVE MUSIC!!!...AND ART!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tarot Paintings In-Progress

Here's a quick peek at some of the Tarot Paintings for my October 1st show...they are all still in-progress and not yet finished!