Karin Haas

Lives & Works: New York, NY

Medium: Drawing

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work?

I am inspired by many things and some influences recur more than others. For years I have been inspired by the juxtaposition of prints and the unexpected layered textures of fashion designer Dries Van Noten. There is a nonchalant elegance about the way he chooses his prints on textures such as cotton, snakeskin, silk, tweeds and felted wools. Noten maintains a balance and understanding that I really enjoy.

 I am also inspired by modernist architecture, especially contemporary homes. What I find interesting is the way these homes engage their natural surroundings through the use of glass, concrete and wood. A friend and architect introduced to me the works of Steven Harris. I appreciate Harris’ less distinct contrast of interior and exterior spaces and his artistic play with natural light that combines a quality of attentiveness. Sometimes I will replicate these modern homes with Legos as a reference and then manipulate those shapes in my drawings.


Tell me about the absence of color in works?

Honestly, I love the color grey. To me, the absence of color in my work is pure aesthetics. I’ve used color in the past and I do plan to play with color in the future but this is where I’m at right now.


Do your materials limit your process in any way?

I really like the idea and the challenge of only using two materials and using those materials to create something that is very intricate and complex.


Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?

I recently bought huge sheets of paper. I am looking forward to drawing even larger shapes and more complicated patterns.


How do you know when a piece is completed?

When I am working on a piece I let it evolve naturally. I work in layers and add to each shape or pattern one layer at a time. I could continue to add more to each piece but the trick is to trust your self and know when to stop.


You mentioned that you never sketch before starting. How do you know what to do next when you are in the process of creating a piece?

I don’t like the word sketch, however, I do construct an idea before I begin to draw.

In some cases I will use Legos to create a 3D composition and may quickly draw an outline of it. If I like the angle, then I’ll just go for it. I’ll then start working on a large piece of paper and make changes as I go along. Even if I have a vision in my head of what the final piece is going to look like there is a very good chance that it will change along the way and that is what is exciting to me.


What is your favorite song right now?

I don’t have a favorite song but the last song I listened to is ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ covered by Patti Smith.


What’s your guilty pleasure?

Horror films! I often play them in the background when I am working.


What's your greatest fear?