KARENYou’ve exhibited in Shanghai, London, and Miami. How does traveling and exploring influence your creation process? 

When I travel I completely change my mind about what I’m doing. I come back with all of these new perceptions and my mind is changed. And they’re not just ideas—it’s more about theories that I conclude from observing the country that I visit, the culture, or the nature or the objects that I find around the city. All of the observations I make run through my mind and I start brainstorming about what it is I’m going to do with all this new information. That’s when I go to the studio and I just start working.

Aside from traveling, what usually inspires you as an artist?

Mainly textures. Especially the textures in nature, but usually you don’t see nature in my work directly. Sometimes I can show a dried flower that I picked from a garden, but it’s usually more about the experience. Sometimes you’ll find some of nature’s objects like a beautiful gem, but usually it’s very indirect.

Like, lets say now the water is cold in Miami, right? The water looks bluer and I can see or feel a texture of it that looks like plastic to me. I see nature, like how the sun shines over the petal of the flower so the petal looks softer than it does than if it were under the shade. Leaves look tougher under the shade and under the sun they look soft. I use soft textures in my sculpture. The textures in solid materials like metals or like a broken mirror are the type of strong textures that inspire me.

Do your kids inspire your artwork?

They totally inspire me. I’ve been analyzing them since the day they were born. Through the process I’ve realized how as human beings we are all generally the same. We do all have different interests, though, so I always analyze how they see things and that means that as adults, we also see things differently from each other like we do in art. For instance, if we see a piece of art, we see it differently than other human beings because you’ve had different life experience and therefore, you see whatever is in your head. I always ask my sons what it is they see in a certain sculpture I made and I’m always just really curious to know what’s in their head. If I make a sculpture, they say “oh I see a lion, I see Spiderman, I see a dinosaur” and they are things that are not really there, but that’s what they see.

Do your children get to partake in any art-making activities with you?

I usually take them to my studio and they always want to tag along with me to every art event. Every time I tell them there’s an opening or that I am going to the studio, they beg me to take them with me. Sometimes, I take them with me, but usually I don’t like to take them out at night because I’m just very protective of them.

What are your favorite places to see art in Miami?

I enjoy going to the museums like the MOCA the PAMM. The openings and galleries in Wynwood are also always interesting to see. I always go to see the openings of fellow artists or for my friends and studio mates. That’s what I truly enjoy, because that’s what I love about Miami—I get to see the art that my friends create  and I can’t see that in other cities or countries. I also enjoy going to lectures at the De La Cruz—they always have amazing movies to see. I recently saw “Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry” and that was very inspiring to me.

What is the most exciting thing about being an artist in Miami?

I think it’s the fact that you relate to all of these people and that it’s like living in a completely different world apart from everyone else. It’s your own little world. If art is what you do and what you want to do, and it’s what you enjoy doing and it’s also your work, you are always surrounded by very interesting people. It’s like people that you can have conversations with and people that won’t judge you about anything, because everything is accepted in art. There are no boundaries. Nothing is wrong. In the art community, everyone has a good energy and it’s interesting and you’re always meeting new people.

What’s next for you? What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a series that I started last year. I’m still working with the glass containers, but on a larger scale. I’m also developing more of the glass mirrors that are broken and non-reflective in both a larger scale and in a miniature scale.

There’s also a show that might be happening in New York, but I can’t say anything else about it just yet.

Tells us about your jewelry collaboration. 

I developed a line of art jewelry in collaboration with Espiritutara. It’s now available at the gift shop at the Perez Art Museum Miami and also at the Primary Projects gallery store. It’s a collaboration between Espiritutara jewelry and Karen Gilinksi Artwork and it’s made with raw materials like silver, onyx, and materials with soft textures that I often use in my artwork, like pom poms in yellow, black, and red. Some of the jewelry pieces are also hand signed by me and are limited edition.

What are your top five quintessentials?

I can’t live without having my work space, which is my studio. I can’t live without doing some exercise, like being able to find the time for meditation. Spending time with my family is also important.  I also can’t live without nature and seeing or speaking to friend once in a while. My quintessentials aren’t really about material things but rather small spiritual things.

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