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.
Culture-Nature Documentarian: An Interview with Karley Sulivan
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.