Artist StatementI paint gritty things from gritty places in gritty ways. My choice of medium is watercolor, and my technique is one of controlled chaos, where an accurate, underlying drawing gives way to a spontaneous and improvisational painting to create a beautiful mess. My interest lies more in expressing how something feels rather than how it looks, and in the sheer physicality of a subject captured in a sheer physicality of paint. Surprises are not only welcomed, but invited, and I embrace the liquidy quality of the paint, often playing matchmaker, by simply introducing areas of paint to one another and allowing them to figure it out on their own. Marks, scratches, drips and splatters all become part of the painting, as I enjoy the contrast of a less studied response, which is my process, leading to the creation of an object that can be more fully studied and experienced over time.
Originally from Chicago, Ken Karlic’s earliest memories are of drawing. Over the years Ken used various media for his art, but it wasn’t until he began to travel extensively that he chose watercolors exclusively, primarily for their portability. This began a two decades long refinement of his techniques, which still continues today.
Although he also paints in the studio, Ken’s real love is to paint en plein-air, a French expression used to describe the act of painting outdoors, and made popular by the Impressionists. In 2010, Ken began to participate in juried plein-air painting competitions. In his second competition, he sold five paintings, won second place and was officially hooked. Accustomed to the deadlines inherent in graphic design, painting plein-air is a perfect match for Ken, as he enjoys painting with a sense of urgency and passion that is more about capturing the essence rather than the specifics of any location.
Ken Karlic studied architecture, painting and graphic design at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and he received a BFA in graphic design in 1986. Ken is an award-winning graphic designer and founding partner of Splice Design Group located in Sparks, Maryland, which specializes in brand identity, interactive and print design for corporate and institutional clients, including the Guggenheim Foundation and Smithsonian Institution. His paintings are in private and institutional collections including Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein-Air Painters Association (MAPAPA) and a Signature Artist Member of Baltimore Watercolor Society.