I really noticed Karina Bania's artwork through her 100 Day Project
. Whenever I'd see her abstract paintings, they would transport me into a zen moment that I could try on vicariously for a minute. It would transport me to her studio space which as a creative person, you cannot look at without wanting to paint immediately - or I could imagine being on a paddle board in the Pacific Ocean enjoying a moment of reflection. I like Karina's thoughts and writing which are quite poetic, which makes me think of Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind
in that way. Karina made me laugh when she recently wrote about her children fighting and calling her husband to vent, and reminded me that no matter how beautiful parts of someone's life may appear, everyone has their own problems and doldrums in life.
What I love most about this series is that it shows normal people doing extraordinary things because they are carving out time to focus on these creative pursuits. It doesn't matter if you have children or not, or whether your passion is writing, drawing, fitness, cooking, etc. - it's that you are intentionally prioritizing something that matters to you and trying to do that, just a little each day (while also being nice to yourself and not always thinking you have to be productive 100% of the time).
Thank you, Karina for sharing a bit of your world with us today. I can't wait to see what you create next!
Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?
I’m Karina Bania, an abstract painter. I live in San Diego with my husband and two daughters and spend as much time as possible at our family home in Baja, Mexico. I began painting very young, attending classes at an art studio where I was the only child. I remember so well the smell of linseed oil, the slanted afternoon light and the hum of adult conversations. I continued painting on and off throughout my adolescence. After college, I began traveling and living abroad for many years. While living in India I studied art and worked with pigment and dyes, which eventually found their way into my paintings. When I returned, I began painting professionally, which I have been doing for the past 10 years.
My favorite mediums are acrylic, dye and collage on canvas or paper. I also love translating paintings into textiles like tablecloths, pillows and throws, bringing art into everyday objects.
I have two girls, ages six and eight. I am a full time mom and working artist.
Has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?
Completely. Becoming a parent put me in touch with the feeling of living for something greater, determining the person I want to be in their eyes, and figuring out who I am outside the roles I play. It’s one of those moments in life where I get to find myself again.
I’ve been painting consistently for a few years before having my first daughter. After she was born, I felt a surge of inspiration and creativity. I became much more purposeful with my time and the direction of my art. I knew that raising the girls was going to be my primary focus, so I needed to find a way to fit my passion and career into that. One of the biggest changes since having children has been the limited hours to create. I’ll be in the middle of a piece, inspired and in the zone, and I’ll have to walk away to focus on family life. I think that as mothers, we are always adjusting to the changing daily demands and needs of our children. Understanding this fluidity has helped me both in my studio practice and in creating art.
Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?
Finding time to consistently paint and move my career forward is simply about prioritizing. I have to put it at the top of the list, which means other things must fall away. This is true with everything we do. When something’s a yes, something else is a no. I have to distill out those things which are essential to me and focus my time and energy there.
This is the first year that my girls are both in school, which gives me uninterrupted hours of time each day to work. That being said, I still struggle to fit it all in. I keep organized lists of things that I want to accomplish, broken down into small action items. This helps me accomplish bigger goals, little by little. One thing that I try not to do is compare myself to other artists. Everyone has their own trajectory. Mine might be slower because I have children, but if I work a little bit everyday, I know I am moving forward and living the life I want.
How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?
As a child, I grew up in a house filled with art. My parents collected paintings and sculptures from the places they lived around the world. I remember standing in front of huge paintings trying to see forms in the abstraction. As I watch my own girls now stand in front of my work, I am on the other side, wondering what impression it will have on them.
Creating has always been essential to my being and I love that my girls get to see me working, pursuing my passion, and valuing my solitude. Often when they are home and I am in the studio, I help them find their own things to do. We work independently, but together. My hope is to raise passionate, curious, independent, creative beings that pursue the things they love.
Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?
I have a studio in our home. It’s a beautiful, light-filled space with old wood floors now covered in paint. It’s separate than our living space, so I don’t need to worry about cleaning up and I can easily jump up from painting to parenting, which happens a lot. It’s filled it with paintings, plants, art supplies, books, collected images, quotes, and found objects. It’s the bottom floor of our home, so the kids pop in and out through the house and yard.
I love the time when I create with the girls. They are so enthusiastic about painting and creative projects. When they see me working they naturally want to join in and have an opinion on anything I’m doing, which is a lot of fun. I always have ample supplies, canvases and painting clothes for them and their friends to join in. We regularly paint, sew, and make handmade books.
Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?
Being a mother, in whatever form you do it, is all encompassing. For me, the balance of kids and work in one place, often at the same time, is continuously challenging. I could never do it all alone. You know it takes a village. I have a housekeeper twice a month and my mother comes and stays frequently. My husband is very involved with the house and kids. I am also blessed with a very close friend with whom I share daily parenting duties like carpooling, activity coordination, and playdates to help each other out. When the kids are in school I try to work most days between 9:30 until 2:00. But each day, there are still a million household things to get done, kids classes to volunteer and teach art in, and exercise to squeeze in. One thing that really helps me is to run errands, pick up around the house, and grocery shop with the kids, so as to utilize most of my alone time for working.
Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?
I have huge dreams, don’t we all. Just having finished up a 100 day creating project
, I would like to now start focusing on gallery shows and collaborations with other artists.
Thank you, Karina! I can't wait to see who you collaborate with, but definitely got excited when I saw you and Jaime Derringer
were painting together recently!