Artwork for podcast Not Real Art
E76: Karen Fiorito, Contemporary Visual Artist
Episode 763rd December 2019 • Not Real Art • Crewest Studio
00:00:00 01:03:53

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In this episode of Not Real Art, we welcome Karen Fiorito! Karen is a political artist and activist, focussing on issues around the environment, animal welfare and the government. We are so excited to share this conversation, as Karen unpacks a lot of inspiring and useful information around her activism and artistic practice and how the two are so closely linked. She was a recent recipient of the Not Real Art grant and she talks about her reflections on this as well as her tips for applying for grants more broadly. We discuss some of her history, spending time in LA and now living in San Diego, away from the big city. This geographic change has had a big impact on Karen's work and she shares exactly how it has brought her activism into more stark contrast! We also talk about her highly viral and controversial billboard depicting Trump and the apocalypse and how she has experienced her fair share disappointments and setbacks, being called 'not a real artist'. This is why Karen is such a favorite around here, she is the perfect example of someone who breaks the mold of the art establishment and is making impactful work on a big scale. For this great chat, be sure to tune in with us today! For more information about artists, links and resources from this episode, please visit

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How Karen won the Not Real Art grant at the conference recently!
  • Moving to LA and then San Diego after that and comparing the experiences.
  • The influence of a more natural environment in San Diego on Karen's work.
  • The 'Trumpocalypse' Billboard that Karen did in 2017 and its aftermath.
  • Karen's creative process and her practices around deadlines and goals.
  • Tips for applying for grants and Karen's success rates in this regard.
  • Karen's lifelong experiences of being dubbed 'not real art'.
  • Working with Shepard Fairey and other amazing prominent street artists.
  • Some information on Karen's latest, female-focussed work.
  • The journey towards activism and the important steps in this process.
  • Karen's relationship with her parents and their feelings around her art career.
  • Edward Bernays' work and the model for propaganda and public relations.
  • The artistic need for support, community and infrastructure.