Ones to Watch: Karli Henneman

Karli Henneman is involved with many forms of creative expression: painting, modeling, printmaking, photography, sculpture, clothing design; she even studied gas welding while in college at Parsons in New York City and Paris. At age 27, she cannot remember a time in her life when she was not creating some form of art.

“Art is a truth to me, it’s a universal language that connects so many people,” she said. “It is just one of those things in my life that keeps me grounded. I feel it’s very pure. No one can take it away from me. … Regardless of saying this is good or bad, when I’m in the moment making art, it just gives me focus and happiness and peace. It centers me. It always has.”

Henneman’s willingness to explore different media and her experience in the fashion industry, which began at age 3 as a professional model, led her to create wearable fine art pieces. She combines her favorite element of fashion — the performance — with her Abstract paintings.

“I wanted to do one or two dresses so they would be seen as pieces of art, not mass-produced clothes. So the value of the dress would be different and be seen more as wearable art and not so much as a clothing piece,” she said.

Each dress begins as a painting — her work is brightly colored and full of movement. Some of her Abstract paintings reflect on the human condition with its emotions, experiences and internal conflicts, and more recent work considers interactions between strangers. Once the painting is complete, she will consider the tones and patterns and determine if it should be a dress.

“I think it’s that overall sense of how would I imagine it walking down the street. Could I see someone walking down the street in this, or at an event in this? Does it have a life to it? And if I get that sense … I’ll print it onto fabric,” she said.

Karli Henneman is represented by Just for You Fine Arts Gallery in Healdsburg, California.

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