This page will occasionally change with different words and artwork from cultures around the world relating to water and the environment. Please feel free to visit past posts about artists doing amazing WATER things here: Purna Bahadur Vaidya and Karen Jean Larson.

Karley Sullivan

Karley Sullivan is an artist [painter, sculpture-creator, photo-creator, video-creator, more], writer, and thinker hailing from Appalachia in the Southern US. She was raised in East Tennessee, but her fascination with the world and its people led her to traverse the US, dwell in downtown LA, teach in South Korea, expand her mind in Baltimore, and move to the syncopated art and dance town of Atlanta. Her background in art and beyond is extensive. She is currently a resident artist at Arts Exchange, a staff photographer and sometimes writer for Burnaway, submits creations to ArtsATL, participates in numerous solo and group exhibitions at galleries, and studies during summers at Maryland Institute College of Art. She interacts with various forms of art-media to decipher and share her [our] [the] world.

- Biography of Karley Sullivan adapted from her website.

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Q&A with Karley Sullivan: Culture Nature Documentarian

How does art allow you to express the world?  The natural world?

I can’t imagine a life without the outlet of making.  Maybe I wouldn’t even exist!  My work is an integral part of how I negotiate the complexity of living.  It helps me to organize my thoughts and concerns, and encourages me to be more conscious about my physical motions and state of being.  The images and objects are the direct result of observing and interpreting the world so that I may engage fully.  Art makes me feel connected and whole.  It is a non-verbal and essential way of sharing my point of view, and the natural world is the basic structure of this correspondence.  I try to bring its loops, its jagged edges, and its brilliant multiplicity to bear in everything that I make.

How do humans and nature intersect in your worldview?

I believe that humankind has made a huge blunder by failing to recognize stewardship of nature as our all-encompassing “meaning of life”.  Nature is us.  We don’t intersect with it, we are it.  Our actual molecules, our bodies, our brains, are the result of billions of years of natural progression.  Small wonder that there is such misery in the world when we don’t comprehend our place in the schema.  We aren’t separate entities; nature and human, we are the same beast.  Even our destructive tendencies echo the stubborn chaos of the natural world.

What does water mean to you?

Water is life.  Clean water is joy and vitality.  It is what we are made of.  I am water and so are you.


  1. Thank you for bringing this beautiful poetry into our hearts. I will visit often here.

  2. Patricia Haines says:

    As coordinator for a arts-based watershed stewardship initiative in Ithaca, NY, I’ve been searching for water artist/activists – glad to come across your site! would love to hear from others similarly calling on the arts toactivate citizens to protect water for our future. We’ll be creating an onine gallery and would like to include links to all of you.

    • Hello Patricia,
      I am an artist working in Pittsburgh PA, water is and seems to always have been the focus of my artworks. Please check out my website: http://www.karenjeanlarson.com. I recently was one of ten artists chosen for the Nine Mile Run Watershed.org to paint a 133 gallon rainbarrel for auction to raise money for the site.

  3. Patricia Haines says:

    Very cool – thank you for getting in touch! the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network is considering creating a gallery page for its new website with water-related art; I’ll be in touch! – Patricia

  4. Have always loved Karens work. Didn’t know about her connection to Florida and the bay. I also do many water themes in my tile work from my years on the water as a boat captain on Maui. Could never live far from the ocean. She is a wonderful creature!

  5. Jessie Violet says:

    And she has passed on the muse and the passion to her daughters. We love you, Mom! Keep inspiring us all…

  6. That Assateague Bay painting is just lovely. I’ve just spent several minutes staring at it. Thanks for the respite from the office grind…

  7. From reader and author Dave Borland: “Karen Larson did my book cover for my latest novel which is being published in September. She is an outstanding artist and somehow at a later date if you wish we could send you a copy of her cover. It is smashing. Also, my last novel is all about water in the year 2050. It portrays our hemisphere involved in a massive drought scenario and how water has become the oil of this mid-century. It’s title is “2050″ and ironically pertains to our future when water is a scarce commodity. Thanks so much for this feature on Karen. She is a such a fine artist and person, to boot.” Way to go Karen and Dave!

  8. Beautiful and moving work.

  9. thank you everyone for such warm comments. I think creativity is in all of us!

  10. Creative work and meaningful art. Thanks for such a good post.

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