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Karen Kelleher Carneiro is an award winning graphic designer, photographer and mixed media artist. She was born in New York and graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in visual communications. In the 1980’s she began designing posters, publications, greeting cards and campaigns for the United Nations and their agencies, which would later take her on adventures around the globe. She spent 14 years living and working in developing countries until settling down in Malveira da Serra, Portugal in 2012 where she creates both her design and mixed media art. Living and traveling to different countries, exploring their culture and
art forms has been a great influence in her creations.


Karen’s themed boxes, trays and lanterns are a reflection of nature, the beautiful surroundings of Portugal and her international travels throughout the years. Each functional piece of art has its own personality inspired by life events
and observations. Short stories on the inspiration along with her photographs accompany the works of art.


The creative process is initiated by rummaging thru her photographic images, collection of beads, embellishments, found and recycled objects to create a central image and theme. Sometimes combining images digitally to achieve the desired effect. Sketches are drawn up then its time to play with the materials. Working on a variety of surfaces including: wooden boxes, trays, tabletops, stools, boards, glass and
glass lanterns.


A favorite medium is gold, copper and silver leaf rubbed with patinas for a rustic look, paint and inks are also part of the initial process. This is the foundation with layers of images, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, glass chips, fossils and artifacts built upon the leafing. Layers of encaustic wax are used in the creative process for a subtle misty feel. After the layers have come together at least one coat of resin is applied for a hard glass like finish. Trim and hardware are added for finishing touches.

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