Artist’s Name

Anna Karakalou

What is your job title?

Artist in Residence

Where can we find your work?

Website
Instagram
Facebook

Where did you grow up?

Between Chicago and Athens, Greece

What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

An artist or a writer

What did you study in college and what was your first job?

I have a BA in Fine Arts and English Lit, and I have an MA in Media Arts. My first job was a Radio Presenter in Cyprus.

How did you get connected to Toolbox LA and why were you interested in enhancing the space?

Through my friend and neighbor Luther Gerlach. When he showed me the space my mind exploded with ideas; it was all just a big, beautifully enticing blank canvas.

When did you discover you had an artistic talent?

My parents gave me a pencil when I was 2. I started drawing little tiny creatures like Richard Scary (not at 2, but soon thereafter). We moved back and forth between Athens and the US quite a bit when I was young, so drawing was the one thing that could always keep me company.

What piece of work are you most proud of? 

I’ve worked on a lot of cool projects as a scenic artist, but none of them were “my own”. Recently I put on a solo show of work I’ve done in the past two years since losing my father, who was a world-class stained glass artist. I wanted to put together a book for the show that could show the work and be a tribute to my dad. It ended up being a 56-page coloring book of all of the art, done in the style of my dad’s stained glass; with millions of tiny pieces that don’t make sense until you pull the color together as a whole. It has, quite unexpectedly, been a very fulfilling project, which has inspired more projects in that vein (and is even a watercolor calendar put out in Portland by Print & Grain). My father always wanted me to make children’s books, I feel like I’m meeting him halfway.

What will you conquer next in your artistic journey? What do you want to learn or try or accomplish?

I am all about trying to make the most beautiful piece I can make. I am interested in creating worlds where projection and soundscapes interact with my painting in a way that feels new and nostalgic at the same time. I have put up shows that are like this on a short-term basis, but I would love to create a permanent, sculptural surface, where analog and digital art meet, possibly in a way that invites the viewer to participate or adapt the images for themselves, either through an app or with a connected tablet.

Sneak Peek: Anna is currently working on this awesome project at ToolBox LA

When you aren’t  working on your art, how do you spend your time?

I travel a lot. I take a lot of classes. I go to Artist’s Residencies to meet other like-minded people and to discover new facets of my own creativity. I also go to a lot of stand up comedy shows. I spend the rest of the time doting on my favorite people, my niece and nephew, Maya (1) and Yiannaki (4).

Best place(s) you’ve ever traveled to?

Nothing compares to Greece, but everyone has its own magic. I think the most unique experience I’ve had was going to Zanzibar on my own (my husband doesn’t crave travel the way I do so I always wind up in these weird places by myself and realize too late, hey, this probably isn’t super safe). I also really love the forests of Finland. Two completely opposite landscapes.

How would your mother describe your personality?

My mom was a model/make up artist and I always felt like she wasn’t really into having such a tomboy for a daughter when I was little. Right now I would be embarrassed to write all the gushy things she says about me. She mostly says that I’m generous and sensitive with a heart of gold and that’s all I’m willing to say…

What’s your favorite get sh*t done quote?

It used to be “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” but now I’m a sleep addict after all those years I denied myself so I just say “I’m Tetrising” when I’m getting things done.