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Meet Karen Drum of Art by G.W.E. in Northeast Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Drum.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Karen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I live in North East Los Angeles. My artist name is Girl Wonder Extraordinaire or G.W.E. for short. According to my parents, I grew up having an affinity for art, music and writing; although I didn’t begin my artist career until 2011. My first medium was acrylic paint and while it is still my go-to medium, I felt somewhat restricted to the limitations canvas presented me.

In 2015, I took up papercraft and not shortly after I took up pyrography. In 2018, I began writing a novella as well as took up wood carving and this past year began learning embroidery, block printing and digital art. My goals moving forward (at least for now) are finishing my novella and attempting to master some of the techniques I’ve learned thus far.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have fortunately been blessed with a fairly smooth road towards my career path, my only obstacles have been a couple of chronic illnesses that I struggle with daily. The most challenging of which has been arthritis, which I was diagnosed with at 19. It unfortunately is aggravated by all of the mediums I practice. However, I still count myself extremely blessed to be able to create for a living and continue to find remedies to manage my condition so I can continue to advance my artistic abilities for years to come.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I specialize in the UnOrdinary. I try to create pieces that will either make you wonder how they were made or wonder what the inspiration behind them is. My favorite thing to work on is customs. Turning an idea from a client into a piece of art they or someone they care about will cherish is such a privilege. When not working on customs, I draw much of my inspiration from my love for all things Spoopy, Macabre, Gross Anatomy, Vintage Halloween, Music and Movies.

As a company, I am most proud of the variety of products I offer. I sell everything from Taxidermy to Block Printed Handkerchiefs. Aside from the reproductions of my artwork that I sell (i.e., prints, buttons, t-shirts, coin purses, etc.) every art piece I make is one of a kind. I believe that fact, combined with the various mediums I offer is what sets my shop apart from others.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Los Angeles is as good a place as any for an artist to cultivate their business. The melting pot of cultures and people I think provides the perfect atmosphere for any creative. More than anything, for any artist to succeed, they just need to create. No matter where they are geographically located, it’s about them being dedicated and consistent in what they are creating.

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