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Johantgen Enterprises

2508 W. Mesquite

Chandler, AZ  85224

 480.570.1111 (fax: 480.755.1965)

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About the Artist

A Matter of Metal

For sculptor Karen Rossi, metal is the medium: portraits are the message. "I use the word 'portrait' loosely, " she says. "I prefer to describe myself as a narrative artist - a storyteller in metal." And now she has found a wider audience for her stories as unique decorative accessories as well as innovative works of art.

I have always felt that I was an artist. My love of art, and of creating art, reaches back into my early childhood. I painted and drew prolifically, fascinated by people, nature and primitive cultures. This passion followed me through university life, where I pursued a traditional foundation in painting and drawing.

In the early '80's, I was introduced to hand-built claywork, and the possibilities of creating three dimensionally. Reality and drama unfolded in the stretching of clay back and forth through space. Exposed to this new medium, I became curious about the treasures and possibilities for artistic expression which my parent's specialty welding business might hold. In 1981, I began to study welding privately with Joseph Correale, a Connecticut sculptor.

I was fascinated by copper, brass, steel and titanium. Their mysteries unfolded themselves to me and seized all of my attention. Doors opened to the world that had been the focus of my parent's lives, yet I saw it through new eyes. Metal may be seen as a cold and imposing medium by some. I use it to express warmth and closeness people feel, to express the joy life brings. In contrast to the nature of the material, my work is perceived as being whimsical.

Not content with the wonders of metal and the sculptures which I might construct, my work grew to be more narrative. My sculptures tell stories about people, places and ideas, therefore I call them portraits. They may take the form of a wall sculpture, mobile or stabile. I most enjoy the process of designing and constructing a portrait. The search for the story behind a subject holds its own special sense of discovery. I find it as enjoyable to listen and learn the stories which clients tell about themselves as to design and create a sculpture which symbolizes that story. I find people (the human mind, the human condition) to be an endless source of inspiration. Flying figures suggest an urgency and joy for a destination, a sense of mission, the continuum of life. Figures in a group speak of social relationships. The sculpture's movement reflects the changing relationships of persons to each other and the world around them. This interaction brings out what is special in people's lives, what is symbolic of their joy and celebration.