Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

Opening: Friday November 3rd, 6 – 8PM
M. CHAPEL PROJECTS, Sarasota

Karen Arango, Noelle Mc Cleaf, Selina Roman

Gallery Open 1:00 – 5:00PM
Sat. Nov. 4, Mon. Nov. 6, Wed. Nov. 8, Fri. Nov. 10, Sat. Nov. 11

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/297789044041245

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/mchapelprojects/

Karen Arango
by Karen Arango
Now You See Me, Now You Don't
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

M. CHAPEL PROJECTS
2087 Princeton St. Sarasota 34237

Featured Artist: Karen Arango

Karen Arango is an independent photographer, videographer and black and white gelatin silver printer. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Photography and Digital Imaging from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL. She also completed the General Studies photography program from the International Center of Photography in NYC.

Shirley by Karen Arango
Shirley, 9, her mother is from Mexico and her father from the United States. Her parents work hard to give her the opportunities they didn’t have at their age. Photo by Karen Arango

Please tell me where you grew up and a bit about your background.

I was born in Colombia, and I moved to the United States when I was 9 years old. My family, parents and two siblings, was in danger because of the war going on in the country, therefore, we immigrated to the United States. When we arrived to this country my parents separated and my mother ended up raising us three alone.

From Abkhazia by Karen Arango
“From Abkhazia” – The mother of an Abkhazian refugee sits in her house in Tbilisi, Georgia while her daughter tell the story of how they immigrated. Photo by Karen Arango

Can you recall the first time you used a camera?

I can’t recall the first time, but I do remember using the old school cameras that my parents had brought with them from Colombia. They were film cameras and I must have been 10 or 11 years old when I got to use them for the first time. All I know is that around 2010 I used a panoramic camera with 110 film, and I took a photo of my brother and his friends while in ROTC in high school, I still have that photo and the cameras with me.

Abkhazian Play by Karen Arango
The Abkhazian refugee mother spends some time with her daughter in the hallway while the other kids of refugees play. Photo by Karen Arango

When did you know that photography was what you wanted to do?

I always loved art, I think almost every child does. I was lucky enough to have an art class at my school in Colombia and my parents had the means to get me art materials. In high school I decided to be an architect, and after doing the AutoCAD program during my junior year of high school I realized that it wasn’t for me. When I decided to study something more unconventional at the time, graphic design some friends and family members would tell me that I would not be able to live out of design or art but I was persistent with it, my mom supported me. I got certified in Digital Design, and after seeing Ringling’s campus and photography program, my boyfriend at the time suggested that I study photography. He would tell me I was very good at it, and I never believed him because he was my boyfriend and I thought he was just saying that. It seems like he knew me well cause since the first day I began studying photography, I fell in love with it.

Xiomara by Karen Arango
Xiomara, 9, her parents are both from Peru. Her mother was deported to Peru when Xiomara was three years old she now only gets to see her mother once or twice a year. Photo by Karen Arango

What are the biggest challenges for you being a photographer?

Self motivation, I think that as an artist I need to keep myself motivated all the time, mostly to do personal work. Then finding a balance between personal and commercial work and keep the spark in my own art. It’s important for me not to let it become an obligation because I’m making money off of it. When your art becomes your means of income it can become dull and you can forget why you started doing it in the first place, but I think that as long as there is a line between commission work and personal work and we stay motivated to do our personal work, then it can be extremely magical.

Helping Brothers by Karen Arango
Brothers help each other get out of the creek in the hills of Dosquebradas, Colombia. Photo by Karen Arango

What inspires you?

Life, experiences, family, friends, strangers, light, colors, compositions, music, traveling, love, nature, helping others, making mistakes, taking risks and the unknown.

Melissa by Karen Arango
Melissa, 6, both of her parents are from Colombia. The father left her mother with three kids to raise when Melissa was still a toddler. Photo by Karen Arango

Can you tell me about some of your projects?

I am currently working on a couple of projects. One is the Miss Behave series, which is about young girls born in the US and daughters of Latin American parents. I’m starting to expand on those series.

Another project I am working on is about women who were illegal immigrants and have been abused in the United States, and as a result they were able to get the Visa U. It’s something I just found out about and I think it is extremely important to talk about this. Many women, who have no immigration status, are being abused today and they are scared to say something because they fear deportation.

Water Transport by Karen Arango
A man transports water through the hills of Santa Rosa Colombia. Photo by Karen Arango

What is your dream situation? Is this a goal you’re working on, and if so, how’s it going?

Well when I was a child I wanted to be an actress. I’ve always loved performing arts, including dancing. I think everyone who knows me well knows how much I love dancing and every opportunity I have to do it, I take it. Deep inside I still would like to be a performance artist, but in some way I feel that I am connected to it, since I am behind the camera capturing the life performances instead of doing them.

Walk around hen by Karen Arango
A hen walks around a grave in the hills of Dosquebradas, Colombia. Photo by Karen Arango

Where can people find you?

People can find me through my website: karenarango.com, I have a contact page where you can write to me. Instagram: @karenarangor, and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arangokarenr. I am currently living between Sarasota and NYC, so if I am not in those two cities then I am capturing a story somewhere!