The art, though? That was Karen’s department. And her collection tells the story of the last few decades of her life. The first piece she ever bought—a delicate sculpture of a gun made of porcelain and sugar by Susan Graham from her tongue-in-cheek series called My Dad’s Gun Collection—remains in the mix on a shelf upstairs. As do other firsts, like the tooth bowl by Genesis Belanger that she fell in love with at first sight at NADA in 2018, or an early painting by Danielle Mckinney. Major paintings, which she regularly loans out to museums and institutions, hang alongside a stuffed sloth—a gift from Darren—and a baby Yoda doll. Nothing in this house takes itself too seriously.
For young collectors just starting out, Karen has advice: “Look for what you love,” she says. “What moves you emotionally? Ignore what may or may not increase in value. I have always purchased from passion versus how the art world defines things.” But also, she says, do your homework: Go to museums and galleries, refine your eye, read the press releases. “The story of a piece and the process of how it’s created are big parts of it for me.”
Karen admits she’s been lucky: “A lot of things I’ve bought have turned into great investments, but for me it’s literally about what do I want to see when I walk in? What do I want to get inspired by every day?”
Sometimes when Darren is watching TV with her, he’ll notice that she’s not paying attention. Her eyes are darting around. For Karen, it’s simple: “I’m looking at the art. Everything that I do comes from looking at art, seeing it, feeling, learning from it.”