Member Gallery Showcase Artists 9.27. - 11.18.17
Carina Karlsson is a first generation immigrant, emigrating from Sweden with her family at age 5. Her family initially settled in Chicago, but soon moved to Wisconsin. Carina grew up in Mequon, a north shore suburb of Milwaukee. Prior to attending college, she returned to Sweden for a year, working odd jobs in Gothenburg as she traveled around and “sowed her wild oats”. Carina returned to Wisconsin as a young adult to pursue a degree in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She spent a brief time in Los Angeles to complete an internship in occupational therapy as well as working as a cocktail waitress at the Palomino in North Hollywood “for extra cash.” Later, Karlsson returned to Wisconsin where she met her future husband. She recalls, “For a few years, I helped him run a dairy farm in Randolph, a tiny town in south central Wisconsin, until the dairy crisis of the late 1980 which prompted us to sell our farm in 1989.” This brought them to the south with their 2-year-old daughter. The three settled in Martin, Tennessee, later moving to Memphis, and then seeking a cooler climate, settled in Bristol, Virginia which has been their home since 1996.
When asked if she had ever received any “formal” art instruction Karlsson says her later art education “could be called formal… the art part? …well, not precisely.” She explains. “My undergraduate degree is in occupational therapy. At that time, a comprehensive occupational therapy curriculum included a significant arts and crafts component, including training in printmaking, weaving, wood and leathercraft, jewelry and ceramics media. At that time, occupational therapists who worked in mental health settings utilized the arts extensively as a therapeutic modality to connect with and help heal their patients. Hence, our training prepared us with this skill set. In fact, one of the main aspects which attracted me to the field of occupational therapy was its unique mind-meld of two of my main interests -- science and art.” Carina practiced occupational therapy since graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1980. The first five years of her career were within the realm of mental health treatment. Since that time the focus of her practice has been the treatment of neurological disorders. She is currently working in an outpatient clinic in Bristol, VA.
Carina is a member of both the Depot Artists Association and “Art Gurls” in Abingdon. As a sign of our modern times, some of the organizations she participates in are internet-based as well. These include The Artstronauts Club, Journal 52 and Charmsters. Locally, Carina’s work has been displayed in group exhibits at the Bristol Public Library and the Washington County Library and Zazzy Z's Coffee Shop in Abingdon, VA. One of her pieces “Trash to Treasure "was part of a show Seth Apter put together in Putnam, CT at the Empty Spaces Project Gallery in December 2014. Her work has also been exhibited on Noah Scalin's Skull a Day blog. Carina participates in multiple mail/internet swaps, including international postcard swaps, round robin handmade jewelry swaps, collaborative book productions and other odd adventures. She received written acknowledgement as a collaborator in two published books, including Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media by L K Ludwig, as well as in Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun by Carla Sonheim.