Young Karen Silvestro began her artistic career by drawing a picture of her sister that was so touching her grandparents showed it off for such a long time that the walls faded around it.
A few years later, she met famous children’s book illustrator Tomie de Paola who liked her work as much as her grandparents did. He suggested that a BFA from Pratt Institute in New York would be a proper start to her journey. So she did that, along with a whole slew of painting classes and workshops from various schools and institutions (the Art Students League in New York, Woodstock School of Art, Hofstra University, The Woodstock Art Association and Museum, the Art League of Long Island, the Charleston Artist Guild…) and famed individuals (Mary Whyte, Chris Groves, Mark Horton, Max Miller…). People kept telling her that awards look good on a resume so she collected some of those from numerous exhibits in New York and the Carolina’s.
She has since been involved in a long list of exhibitions all up and down the East Coast, and recently had her first solo show at Robert Lange Studios, one of the most well-respected galleries in Charleston, SC. Having launched full-force into her fine art career, Karen is currently involved in so many different things, (i.e., the prestigious Sophia Institute’s Women of Wisdom exhibition, RLS’s Women Painting Women show, the Lowcountry AIDS Services show, the Center for Woman It’s in the Bag show… notice a theme here?) that part of her daily life now involves keeping track of when and where all these paintings are going.
Karen’s unique style flirts with surrealism as one might notice the seemingly strange collection of things in her paintings. But her concepts are much more profound, and a tremendous amount of thought goes into each piece. Each detail is carefully planned out to purposefully relate a symbolic narrative. She has been described as a “symbolic surrealist” who often uses the figure and atypical combinations of objects to illustrate her narratives. There is always an underlying message at the core of her paintings.
“I find humans and their emotions fascinating, and I enjoy finding visual ways of showing how positive growth often comes from hardships,” says the artist.