Elmer's by Karen J Waller
acrylic, 15 x 30 inches
Artist Statement: Having undergone a series of renovations, this New Jersey structure serves as my own personal metaphor of aging. It is also a dual legacy of the painted and the painting as I race against the effects of time, taste, and sprawl to capture the tangible remnants of my youth and leave behind a record of myself as a visual artist.
Jersey Inspiration: The juxtaposition of the old and the new always intrigued me about this building. Located in Upper Saddle River, NJ, where is there another corner barn where you can down a sandwich, gas up your car, and throw caution to the wind with a lottery ticket?
Bio: Karen Waller received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978 from Montclair State College with a major in Fine Arts. After a hectic career in publication design and production as well as a stint as a muralist and decorative painter, she finally obtained her graduate degree in Studio Art from MSU studying with Peter Barnett and Amer Kobaslija. Recently retired from Bergen County Technical High School as an award winning Visual & Graphic Design instructor, Waller is rediscovering her love of typography and acrylic landscape painting with an occasional dash of vintage found object collage work.
Waller’s career highlights include working on Time magazine when it was banned in South Africa and People magazine, bold enough to put a human face on AIDS early on in that pandemic with a profile of young hemophiliac Ryan White. As a teacher, Waller guided her students through global communication projects with their counterparts in Japan, Ecuador, Tajikistan, and Thailand with one collaboration resulting in class-wide certification from the US State Department. Upperclassmen also earned a number of awards for public service announcements with videos regarding and written and directed by Waller. Waller herself was the recipient of a Governor’s Award in Arts Education in 2011 and an NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership grant in 2018. As for painting, the highlights include a large-scale, public mural donated to the Doo Wop Preservation League in Wildwood, NJ and her one-woman show at the Belmar Arts Center entitled Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
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