Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Karin: More than we can see

Karin: More than we can see
by Judy Takács

I start to write Karin a thank you for posing for a crazy painting (not Chicks with Balls, another one) and I have to run to the computer to look up the word “immensely” so I won’t spell it wrong. Not because she’s a grammar Nazi (well, she kind of is…like me, but she’s better at it) but because I want her to think I’m a brainiac and can kick around a ten-dollar word like I own the place. I’m hoping Karin will enjoy my very intentional mixup of metaphors and colloquialisms…and that she’ll be impressed I know the words: metaphor and colloquialism…I even think I used them right.

In this thank you note, I went on to tell her how she is my writing muse as well as my artistic muse. She is an epicure of observations…visual, psychological, verbal and written.  And for some reason…maybe because obsessive-compulsive graphic designers inhabit both our souls… we take special offense with badly used punctuation marks. (Please don’t tell us you grew up in the 70’s…or that your “active” yogurt cultures are “live”…the quotation marks betray that they are neither.) So Karin and I notice this kind of stuff in life and write hysterically clever emails informing each other about our latest find…and we laugh and laugh and laugh.

But there’s more. This tall and lovely multi-talented former Victoria’s Secret model also has an MBA and she’s an incredibly gifted writer.  A designer of type, interiors and life, Karin has, over the past 10 years, studied with master photographers and emerged as an incredibly sensitive and dynamic photographer herself (karinmckenna.com). She could literally throw a pile of rusty nails into a dusty corner along with a dead fly and a tic-tac; photograph it and make you hungry for tic-tacs. She’s just that good at photographing food…and hog slaughterings…and exotic locations…really just about everything.

Closest to Karin’s heart, however is documentary photography. For almost as long as she’s been taking pictures professionally, Karin has been photographing the boys, the sports and the character building activities of The Ginn Academy, a very special public school located in the heart of a depressed urban area of Cleveland. This all-male public school provides the students with unparalleled structure and guidance as well as an education, leadership skills, and hope for a successful life. Karin photographs for, writes and maintains their blog, tutors their students, collects and donates clothing and supplies for the school’s families in need and roots for these boys that are beating all the odds.

A designer at heart, Karin took her pose for Chicks with Balls seriously. Her ball choice was a concept to be brainstormed; a design problem to be solved creatively. We actually had two posing sessions, because, after much consideration and discussion, the first ball concept just didn’t hit the mark.

The ball idea you see painted here, however, struck her like a bolt of lightning at 6:00 am on a Saturday morning. Luckily I was awake to find out about it, but had trouble deciphering her spontaneous and cryptic email. (Like I said, she’s more clever than I am.)

When she explained it in detail, however, I saw it was perfect. We scheduled the second posing session and I ran to the party store for Halloween eyeballs. Luckily, since it was September, they had a nice selection.

And so she posed with an eyeball, because with Karin there is so much more than meets the eye, and she sees so much more than the rest of us see; 

hilarity in a forgotten comma,…beauty in a forgotten corner…promise in a forgotten child.