Featured Member Karen Hunter McLaughlin
Interview by Julia Rix

We are truly lucky to have Karen Hunter McLaughlin among our ranks. Not only does she play an integral role in the organization of the business matters of our artists’ cooperative, she also designed this website!  As the founder and principal designer at KM Digital Design, she proves daily that she has the business acumen and artistic talent to make it happen.


To find out a little bit more about the soul within her very keen mind, I asked her a few questions about her practice in Fine Art…

You work a lot with natural forms…what attracts you to this subject matter? 

I grew up outdoors and I love the beauty of nature– it kind of comes pre-designed. There is no exactness to the natural form so I can get as creative as I want.

What do you enjoy most about your artistic process? 

In my usual art practice I tend to have a very myopic process. I hunch over and love to get lost in the details- it’s meditative and therapeutic.

Like a lot of artists I have a very scientific mind, so process is important to me. I think I inherited my curiosity for how something is made and my drive to figure out how to get there from my dad. He was always a handy man. He is an endless source of information on how to create with whatever materials are on hand.

My current work is multi-step, from photo to plate design, from print to embellishment, and finally to the end result. Sometimes I’ll see a scene or an object and instantly have an idea of where and how to create my image.  Other times I just start with a set of steps and have happy surprises along the way.  I love happy surprises, I don’t think art can exist with out them.

When/How/Why did you join Artessa Alliance (formerly MamaCITA)?

I joined the group back 2007! I can’t believe it’s been that long. Like a lot of mother/artists, when I had my children (I have 2) my art took a back seat to raising them. I found infancy to be such an engrossing, difficult but lovely time. I did not make art for many years. When they were starting school I finally had the urge to reconnect with my art. I actually had this idea that I wanted to start an organization similar to MamaCITA – I still have the business plan.

I found the group through the Cheltenham Center for the Arts. I reached out to consult them about starting my own organization. They asked me, “Why don’t you just join us?” So I did and it has been life-changing!

What’s the craziest thing you’re ever done in the name of art?

I have to say that collaborating on several art installations might be the craziest thing I’ve ever done. And I loved it.  I find it so thrilling to work in such a large scale art space; it is very much outside my usual box.  Working alongside other artists and hashing through our ideas together is great practice for me since I have a freelance website design and development company and I spend a lot of solitary time. I find digging in with other amazing artists and discovering how they think to be very inspiring.