Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the blue locket quiz: karina bania

Karina Bania, Night Sky Over Texas

Today I'm inaugurating a new Blue Locket feature: artists talking about their inspiration. Karina Bania paints expressionistic, beautiful canvases. She documents her creative process and (and her young daughters' artwork) in her poetic, beautifully photographed blog, Curate the Day. Here she shares—with so much depth and consideration—her thoughts on creativity, art, solitude, and the passing of time. Also, I love seeing the common colors, shapes, and themes in her own paintings and in some of her favorite pieces of art. Karina, thank you so much for your lovely, inspiring words!

1. What inspires you? Everything serves as a source of inspiration for me. The way the sunlight hits the floor, being in nature, a good conversation, a messy studio, the way my kids approach a blank canvas, all inspire my work and, more importantly, my life. I read a lot, so titles of books, the images a few simple words can create, poetry, or odd language, can spark a whole series of paintings. Fashion is also a big influence, the lines of a dress, color combinations, magazine layouts, and runway looks, have all translated into art. Throughout my life, my main influences have been Eastern philosophy, dense urban life, empty spaces, imperfections, the play of light, and our relationship to everyday objects and rituals. 

Karina Bania, Meet You in the Middle

Uta  Barth, Time Series
2. Who are your favorite artists? My lifelong loves are Cy Twombly, Basquiat, and Rauschenberg. I love Uta Barth’s work; it’s transfixing. Helen Frankenthaler, Christopher Wool, Landon Metz, and Ethan Cook are my current sources of inspiration. I love pictures of Picasso’s life, he was a true bon vivant. Ruth Asawa’s work, in particular her crocheted wire sculptures, are incredible. The simplicity and lines of ceramic artists like Lucie Rie and Paula Greif make me melt, as well as the land art sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ascent
Ceramics by Paula Greif

3. Can you name some favorite works of art?
My favorite works of art have a lot to do with seeing them in person and where I was in my life when I saw them. Standing in front of Matisse’s Dance for the first time was life changing. I didn’t know the scale of the work and I experienced the feeling of being brought into the painting. That feeling made me look at art differently and really understand the equation of art object + viewer = art. It was profound. Being surrounded by a body of Rothko’s work is transforming. In particular, Rothko’s No. 61 (Rust and Blue) is one of my favorites. I love anything I can get lost in. I’m always moved by Cy Twombly’s Triumph of Galatea and Joseph Albers Homage to the Square. And I will never pass up seeing Basquiat’s work or a Warhol.

Mark Rothko, No. 61 (Rust and Blue)
Cy Twombly, Triumph of Galatea
Joseph Albers, Homage to the Square

4. Where do you do your best work? In solitude. I talk about this a lot, I need silence and time alone to think and hear inspiration. When my mind is singularly focused in the moment, like while driving, lying in bed, sitting in the garden, or reading, ideas come to the surface. Most of the time, they are unrelated and indirectly inspired by what I am doing. I usually jot them down in the moment. Later, while creating, I am pretty ritualistic. I have an art studio at my house where I work. I like the studio warm, with the same music on that I have listened to for weeks on end, so I am not thinking, I am not retracting at all, I am simply receptive, relaxed and able to create. 

Karina Bania, East Side

5. What scares you? Time scares me. Specifically, the shortness of life and the length of things I want to experience. When this anxiousness arises I try to remember that depth, which is probably the most important aspect of living, is only experienced in the moment and then I try to live fully now. Also, beginning, sometimes, scares me. Not wanting to experience that gap between my ideas and the quality of what I am able to create in the moment. But I know the only way to close that gap is to keep working, so I continue knowing that nothing is permanent. It can always be painted over and something good always comes from the process of creating.


  1. yay! love her, love this feature. You know I love the quizzes :) xx

  2. Nadya, thanks so much for having me! The questions were great and it made me get clear on my creative process and where I draw inspiration. I love these interviews so I will definitely be following this column. xx