When did you first discover your artistic inclinations?
When I was just becoming a teenager, I had a strong need to document the ways in which people interacted. I’ve always been fascinated by group dynamics. It’s always been so compelling to me, the masks that people wear, it’s probably when I started to notice how much hypocrisy we’re exposed to, beginning in the formative years, that I began my long journey of satirizing my own duality, and every other social role that surrounded me.
What drew you to performance art, music and painting?
The realization that I could make my own rules, and not have to follow the rules of others.
What are the main themes you explore in your art?
The limitations of autonomy, the terror of freedom, deep loneliness, aversion/desire, fear of intimacy/the need for intimacy, and of course, honesty at all costs!
When we spoke before you mentioned original separation and addiction. How do these themes inform your art?
For me, I keep returning to the primal abandonment scene that I experienced in early childhood. I’m 41 years old. I’m still trying to heal that original separation wound. For many years, I wasn’t even aware that I needed to get closure, or try to learn how to forgive my original caregivers for not taking care of my needs when I was a helpless child. In retrospect, all of my relationships since then have been very unstable. I have operated like a very hungry child in the past, by acting out romance addiction, buying into fairy tales, indulging in rescue fantasies, and being unable to sustain relationships. I have strong borderline traits but I do meditate, and I spend a lot of time observing the reactive mind. On a cellular level, I’m trying to get to a place where I can expect and be prepared for more loss, without being completely devastated when it happens. If the primal abandonment scene is part of the eternal return, I want to start viewing it with different lenses. Yes, I often feel desperately lonely, and no one’s going to save me from aging and death, so there’s really no point in relapsing by acting out the addiction of false escape.
How would you describe your style and influences?
Just following the voice of the daimonic within, mortality is a pretty big influence on me, my style is probably dead serious and completely irreverent, it’s always about paradox. I’ve been most inspired by the thought processes of Simone Weil, Dorothy Day and Pema Chodron.
“Meathead”, an early St. Karen music video:
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Click below to LISTEN: St. Karen – “Never Been in Love”: