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Meet Anna Karena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Karena.

Hi Anna, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I have been a creative all my life but it took a backseat until around 2015 or so. I have been in and out of the business of making handmade items longer than that but around 2015 is really when I decided to commit to the practice of making art whether it was successful in the traditional sense or not. I committed to it for myself.

I live in a very small 450 sq ft condo which I decided I was just going to turn into an art space and so I set up my easel in the kitchen and began painting. A few years into that process I had too many paintings and supplies in the condo that I literally couldn’t paint another thing. At that point, I kinda shut down because I had nowhere else to put the paintings.

I realized that I was either going to have to stop or I was going to have to try to get studio space outside of my home and that’s what I did. I was able to join a studio with other artists and there were four of us in that space and it was wonderful. Wonderful to be in a community of other artists and to be able to spread out and have dedicated space. Also to be able to have my living space back!

Last fall one of my studio mates needed more space to work on a large scale project and asked me to get a studio with her and so we moved into a beautiful space one floor down from where we were and we love the new space with two walls of windows and a lot of space for both of us.

I’m currently beginning a new project that I have had in my mind for over ten years with no time to do it. Now that I have a little inventory built up I feel like I can try the idea in my head and hope it turns out as good in reality as in my mind’s eye.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think there will always be obstacles along the way and that provides a lot of growth if you don’t let them get you down. One big hurdle was getting into a studio space. Trying to afford it on top of paying for the actual supplies like paints and canvas etc. I do work a full time job which is what affords me to be able to do this but also takes up more time than I would like. So finding the balance can be tricky sometimes.

The other struggle that I think every artist deals with at least in the beginning is finding my authentic voice. And then not second-guessing that just because work doesn’t sell. Believing in your work even when others don’t. That’s a struggle sometimes.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As I stated previously I have been a creative all my life and I do many different creative things such as needlework, beadwork, knitting, crocheting, quilting, drawing with pencils, pen and ink, charcoal, pastels; watercolor, and acrylic painting.

What I focus on the most in the studio is an acrylic painting, and mixed media work. My standard canvas is 30”x30” and then I also work on smaller 10”x10” canvases as well as small wood panels, typically 6”x6” and 8”x8”. I tend to work in a square format instead of a rectangle because it just feels right to me.

I work in a very intuitive way and usually don’t start with any kind of plan for a painting. I work in layers and layers and just keep going until an image begins to emerge. Once I see something I will flush out what I see. My work is often abstract and I am often asked how I know when a piece is finished? The answer to that for me is when I no longer wish to add anything else or take anything away. Also when the title comes I know I’m done, at least with the concept, and just finish up the mark-making.

I have a new project I am just beginning and I think that will be something that will set me apart but I am not talking about it yet so you will just have to watch and see what happens.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
What I like best about Minneapolis is the wonderful arts community here. There is great theater, dance, music, and art here. It’s also a clean, beautiful city, that has a nice balance of nature and city life.

What I like least about Minneapolis is that lately, since covid, and the murder of George Floyd, things have been harder here. Many businesses have closed and the crime is higher and the civil unrest is a tinder box. It has made creativity more difficult and feeling unsafe has been hard.


  • $1900 for all 30”x30” acrylic paintings
  • $60 for the 6”x6” wood panels
  • $80 for the 8”x8” wood panels

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @Anna.Karena
  • Facebook: @annakarenaartist

Image Credits
headshot by Travis Johansen (

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1 Comment

  1. Travis Johansen

    June 16, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Anna is such an amazing person and artist!

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