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Karen Clarkson


Studio 28

Clarkson Art Studios

2529 Ridge Rd, Prescott


Mediums: oil & acrylic painting, drawing/pastels, mixed media


Demo: current oil paintings in progress


I first started drawing by looking into the past and bringing out my voice using a realistic approach to portraiture. Even as a young child I would draw people on any blank piece of paper I could find. A story I often tell is when I was very young and drew a stick figure in my mother’s treasured leather bound bible. I would draw in school all the time (especially when I wasn’t supposed to) and often had to stay after because I was caught. I really think I was trying to discover something about myself by identifying with my subject.

I have recently finished a portrait series entitled “A Choctaw Story of Land and Blood”. This ethnographic series uses my own family records of birth, land allotment and marriage documents to illustrate the history of the Choctaw in 1800 Indian Territory. This 20 piece series is currently exhibiting at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona. I have also just completed a trio of illustrations depicting the Choctaw creation story “Nanih Waiya” for the Museum of Mississippi History’s permanent display. My work is also included in the Choctaw Nation Museum where I have won many awards including three for Best of Show as well as People’s Choice and Heritage Award. 

I have always believed in the importance of encouraging young children to draw and appreciate art. A few years ago this prompted me to illustrate a children’s book written by Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle, awarding them both Children’s Book American Indian Youth Literature Award for the Picture Book Category in 2011, as well as four other book awards. “When I was a young child I could not get enough of lavishly illustrated storybooks. I still have them today.”


Today I reside in the artistic community of Prescott Arizona. “It has become increasingly important for me to show the history of my people in ways an audience can understand and appreciate.  The art I create is historical but it is also evolving. Native art is alive and expanding.”

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