Instillation artist Karren Seymour is who many would describe to be an conventionally unconventional creative. Pom-poms on every accessory imaginable, paint splattered dungarees; she pays a distinctively Dexy’s Midnight Runners homage. The chopstick in her hair and the glitter around her eyes teleports you away from the drearily decorated coffee chain, into a realm she has made unapologetically hers.
Growing up in the rural county of Shropshire, Karren had humble beginnings. In turn, her departure from traditional country living to conceptual and alternative instillation art was by no means a predictable one. “My parents don’t really understand my art.” She confesses, with an air of blazé acceptance.
“Modern art has no voice in Shropshire, so moving to London was just always something I had to do.” Since trading in her shears and rake for fabric and paint, Seymour has been given the opportunity by fellow industry collectors and art enthusiasts to hold gallery showings across the capital. And despite the warm reception her controversial creations received, the science behind her chaos is one to be learnt, respected, and admired.
“It all starts with structure.” She urges, grinning over a mug of a chamomile tea no less. “I’ve always been fascinated by the shapes in structures, and how they can change the space they’re in.” Her work, spanning from backgrounds in architecture to interiors, have always kept a conscious loyalty to foundations of the surroundings, and reinventing the space. Seymour’s instillations ooze playfulness, with technicolored balloons, bubble wrap, metals, and wood. There is no material discriminated against, with few stones are left unturned in her construction process.
Colour began to dominate Seymour’s instillations, when what began as minimalist displays, slowly evolved into what became more abstract concepts, tuning into bright primary colours. “I want to make people feel something when they see my work, I choose to do that with colour.”
She urges that instillation art is equally as grueling and rewarding as the canvases on our walls. “They’re almost performances in themselves. They can be visually enjoyed in ways 2-demential art fails to be.”
The focus of her contemporary works are built around nostalgia and childhood youth. Her most recent venture incorporates donated toys and play equipment, as a means to explore playfulness that our everyday lives lose over time. “I want it to be fun. Everything I’m using is associated with a carefree happiness that we all wish we still had.” The instillation is for onlookers of all ages to enjoy and relate to the display. “Environmental artwork is meant to make audiences feel included. It can be very spiritual. Kusama inspires me most in that respect.”
Yayoi Kusama, arguably one of the best living artists, has captured the public’s attention to environmental art. The Japanese artist’s Mirror Room exhibition in Los Angeles’ art museum The Broad, has drawn in crowds of across the globe, lighting the way for up and coming artists of her kind. Seymour recalled particularly liking the artist’s attention to dots and the dimensional shift they can bring spaces.
Kusama took an infatuation with polka dots, that eventually led into avenues of a deeply rooted mental obsession, eventually using them indefinitely in her art. “She’s designed interactive rooms in galleries for people to add their own identity and flare.”
However, it seems the occasional audience participation is farthest Seymour is prepared to go in terms of collaboration. “I prefer to work alone because that way I don’t need to compromise my vision for anyone else.” She laughs, “I can be very selfish, because I know what’s in my head, and adding another oversized ego into the mix would only lead to disaster. At least for now.”