Kara Suhey channels her profound love and respect for nature’s beauty by capturing its energy in stylized prints. After years of living in large coastal cities, she moved to quaint Santa Barbara on the word of a psychic, a decision that has since fed her creativity and purpose all the more. Kara’s vibrant prints transcend mediums, ranging from photography to painting to a unity of the two. She is endlessly inspired by light activity along the California coast, paying homage in her diverse collection of works. Her prints invite the viewer to engage with all senses, be present, and relax. She is someone who loves to get lost in a creative moment, and her ability to have fun with her work is evident in the playfulness and serenity of the images. Hear what Kara has to say about her process.
Q: What’s unique about your work?
Much of my work has a dreamy quality to it inspired by the joy and serenity of immersing oneself in nature. I often work with many layers of paint or color washes blended with my photography taken when the light is doing magical things during golden hour on the West Coast.
Q: What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?
When seeing one of my pieces for the first time, I’d like people to be drawn into feeling very present, and to enjoy a sense of beauty. Much like the feeling of listening to a string arrangement in a moving piece of music, or biting into the perfect piece of cheese.
Q: What is your favorite material to work with?
I’ve really enjoyed my recent move towards photography and manipulating colors digitally because when I paint, I get really absorbed in the moment and have a lot of trouble keeping the paint on the canvas. Every pair of jeans I used to own were eventually covered with paint, and the floors where I painted were hit pretty hard too. The landlords really loved that.
Q: How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your process?
When I’m really struggling to make a creative decision, or even deciding if a piece is finished or not, I’ll flip a coin. It helps me to keep moving forward so I don’t get stuck laboring over a decision for too long. The coin decides!
Q: What funny moments, unexpected surprises, or obstacles have you encountered?
When I was first learning photography, I unexpectedly got hired by an artisanal ice cream company to be their brand photographer. I barely knew how to turn on a camera at that point, and had to learn the art of food photography on the hardest subject known to man, a rapidly melting bowl of ice cream. It mostly worked out, but I gained 8 pounds after eating the melty remains from every shoot that I felt too bad to throw away.
Q: What motivates and inspires you?
I’m endlessly inspired by the immense beauty of sunlight hitting the natural world in just the right way, and wanting to bottle that feeling up for you in a piece of art to take and enjoy in your home.
Q: What makes a space special?
To me, a space feels special when I can tell that someone has poured their creative powers into it in a way that feels absolutely unique and unexpected. The space feels like a living piece of art with an energy to it that makes you want to settle in and curl up in it for a while.