Artist statement

American Empress stencils of Amy Fisher and Tonya Harding by Karen Miranda Augustine

My creative projects ride on the confluence of pop culture, the ancestral, and the underground.

I create photo-based, mixed-media art out of found materials, beadwork, embroidery, and paint in a way that could be loosely described as low-relief assemblage. All are centred around a degraded photograph — usually stencil, photocopy, image transfer, or découpage — as it’s in the raw, primitive imprint of my subject where I find the most interest.

Memorialization, loss, and the broader life experiences of women and girls are repetitive themes in my art projects, which often include some aspect of participation from strangers and friends.

I am heavily influenced by pop culture and the traditional sacred arts of the African diaspora, the Americas, and Pacific Islanders. Philosophically, most of my references nod to Haiti, West and South Africa. Sequins is a recurring element, in that they represent pwens — that divine spark of light that flashes at that in between place where our earthly conditions converge with that of the Unseen.

My overarching concerns are the ways that shared experiences interconnect us and how our journeys through affliction take us to a place of self-possession.

For these reasons, I classify my work as ritualistic pop art.