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Meet Trailblazer Kara-Leigh Huse

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara-Leigh Huse.

Kara-Leigh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have had a passion for creating art my entire life.

I remember being very interested in art at a young age. My family was full of creatives that encouraged art making of any kind. My maternal grandfather was a cartoonist and my father is an artist who studied at the Art Center College of Design. When I was young, I took art classes and I loved making crafts in my free time.

I earned a water polo scholarship to the University of Southern California and majored in Fine Arts (studio art) with an emphasis on painting and analog photography.

At USC, it was extremely challenging to juggle the demanding schedule of division one athletics while devoting a great deal of my time to my fine art studies. After I graduated from USC and retired from water polo, I was able to pursue an MA in Art Therapy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

After earning an MA in Art Therapy in 2016, I finally have more time to focus on my art, as well as my research as an art therapist.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was incredibly difficult playing water polo at such a high level in college, while also being a full-time student. I was the only athlete in most of my art classes and it was very isolating to have such a demanding water polo schedule. Studio art classes are often three hours long and they barely fit into my schedule when I had grueling morning and afternoon practices. Every week, I was challenged with balancing art show openings, group critiques, and watching film of my opponent. I had a very difficult time juggling water polo, art school, and a social life in college. However, it helped to surround myself with great friends, family, and teammates that supported me.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ATTENDINGAWAKE – what should we know?
When I was in college, I experimented with ‘double exposures’ in the photography dark room. I would print black and white ‘photograms,’ by exposing a page out of a magazine, that had imagery on either side, onto the photo sensitive paper. This would create an unexpected composition of lines and shapes on the printed paper. I was drawn to the process of not knowing exactly what I would see when I pulled the image out of the stop bath.

When I began working with color photographs, I continued to experiment with exposing two photographs onto one paper. I loved the remarkable compositions and the process of merging multiple images into one complete piece.

After college, I no longer had easy access to a darkroom for photography. I decided to continue this process in a different medium. First, I would paint an image or portrait on canvas of wood. Then I would paint another image on top of that, and continued this process until I was pleased with the composition. I am currently working on a painting series, in which I aim to portray and honor various female friendships in my life.

My background in art therapy gives me a unique view of people, relationships, and behavior. Therefore, my artwork aims to capture the multifaceted and complex aspects of humanity.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
First, try to not compare yourself to others, but do look for mentors whose work you admire. Do not be afraid to ask for advice or help, we are all learning and most of us have no idea what we are really doing. Second, build strong relationships because they are vital on a basic human level. There should always be time for coffee with a friend or a phone call to a family member. Third, make goals for yourself, write them down and do something every day that gets you a little closer to achieving them. Fourth, do not be afraid to be different and unique, as it will more than likely be your strength. Lastly, self-care is important! Find time to do something for yourself every single day, even if it is just taking deep breaths.

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Image Credit:

Kara-Leigh Huse

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1 Comment

  1. Kate Lindsay

    August 29, 2018 at 04:18

    Kara-Leigh, nice review. Enjoyed your story….I’m Erin’s aunt. Will share with my husband he enjoys the visual art of young female artist.

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