2015 Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year

Coastal Community Foundation would like to recognize the winner of the Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year award:

Karin Olah

2015 marks the 12th anniversary of the award created by Michael Griffith and Donna Reyburn.
The award supports the work of visual art that represents our Lowcountry’s unique lifestyle, culture and environment.
Now, let’s meet the artist:
When and why did you become an artist? According to my family folklore, as a toddler, I was denied coloring books but encouraged to use blank paper to make my own pictures. Lucky me, I grew up in a home full of art supplies (My mother was a painter and an art teacher, my father – a landscape architect). We called Lancaster County, Pennsylvania home. On a daily commute, you can see Amish and Mennonite farms and their beautiful quilts hanging on the wash lines. I learned to love and appreciate quilts and began sewing and collecting fabric as a young girl.
Did you have any formal training? In 1995 I started classes at my dream art school – Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. There, I studied painting and printmaking and then found the Fibers Department and fell in love with fabric (again).
What inspires and motivates you? My paintings contemplate the seam where our ocean meets the sky. I work from photos I take on family walks, days at the beach, and views from favorite playgrounds (I have 2 daughters). Spending time near or on the water has a positive effect on mood and health. I’m constantly soaking in the inspiring views and excited to share my own twist on a beloved subject.
Why do you choose to use mixed media painting? I like the possibilities of working with mixed media. I am interested in finding metaphorical connections between fabric and subject matter. This is why I paste fabric into my paintings. Fabric has a load of memories that comes with it. It’s something we all connect with.
What does winning the Griffith-Reyburn award mean to you? Winning this award is a burst of confidence and energy – total validation for doing what I do. I have a lot of admiration for past winners (like Lese Corrigan, Mary Walker, JB Boyd, Charles Williams), and feel honored to be a recipient. I can’t wait to share my work at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park – it’s one of the best in town.
Please join us at our annual Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award Reception at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 23rd at City Gallery at Waterfront Park. Optional RSVP and further details are available on our Facebook event.

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