Studio Sunday: Kara Walker

A photo of Kara Walker working in the studio


Today’s Studio Sunday feature is Kara Walker. Walker was born in Stockton California. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the Atlanta College of Art.


The artist is known for her works that explore difficult concepts and issues surrounding race, sexuality, identity and the violence found therein. She most frequently does this through black paper silhouette cut-outs of human, animal and environmental figures. The black cutouts are placed together, creating dynamic scenes along the walls of the gallery, while the silhouetted, shadowy nature of the figures seems to suggest the viewer’s tendency to hide from these subjects and not give them the full light and attention that they deserve.


Kara’s studio in this photo looks well-lit and busy. Her materials, I imagine, consist largely of paper – presumably she creates drawings and small-scale mock-ups of her cutouts before building them on a larger scale. The table in front of the artist is littered with tiny black paper figures and drawing tools. In the background it looks like some larger mock-ups or works in progress are propped against the wall. This studio might not be as messy as the studio of a painter or a clay sculptor but I can imagine it being stuffed with scraps of paper and glue. I wonder if similar studio clutter can be found in the workspaces of Artist Run Website artists who work in collage and paper-cut. Well lit and with a high ceiling, the space provides optimal lighting for working with shadows. It looks as though the mounted camera behind Walker is probably used for capturing shadows on a wall, or for documenting works. 

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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