me + CV

Engineering | Science | Public Health_2021

Some of this is life that feels like work and a lot of this is work that feels like life and I’m never really sure which of it is ever even in balance anyway. Sometimes I think time was invented so we don’t explode from it all happening at once.

Karen Alice Merritt (she|her|hers) is a downeast Maine-based writer, community health advocate, engineer and engineering instructor. Her creative works are explorations of the details –  gestures, juxtapositions, unexpected framings – and considerations of how remembrance is built from how we reflect and are, in turn, reflected. Sometimes the most revelatory components of a memory or an image are in the shadows that pass behind us. Karen’s work has appeared on city walls, in galleries, as stock, in print and on-line. | and thinkpunkgirl?  We must become undisciplined, writes Christina Sharpe. This is the DIY | This is where we work it out and build it from.

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(gelatin silver print with stencil | ink 2011; digital composition | collage 2019)

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Opportunities | Projects Awarded

  • 2021-2022 – University of Maine Diversity Leadership Institute Cohort
  • 2018 Rebel Blend Fund Grant – Intersection (1 in 5 | 1 in 2)
  • 2017-2018 Armin E. Elsaesser Fellowship – The Mines
  • 2017 CSA(II) – Art | Farm Collaboration (Harlow Gallery)

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Projects Summary  

Street art | Graphic arts

  • 1 in 5 | 1 in 2 (Intersection) (2019 – ongoing) – street art for community engagement around public health, identity, substance use, resource access, safety & stigma.
  • all y’all (2015) – Community portraits as exploration of inclusivity (paste-up).
  • cityDrift (2014) – Self-Arrest – Installation used open-ended alley to address stigma, addiction and recovery (collaborative paste-up with resource links).
  • Art Truck (2013) – visual | interactive 1-night show of street portraits in a non-gallery space. Visitors invited to take images from the show throughout the evening.
  • Tag[G]alle[r]y (2013) – Outreach-focused street tag project – images addressed gender identity | inclusivity with links to resources  [with Elective Arts Collaborative]
  • 30 days | Half-life (2012 – 2013) – multi-media exploration of street art tags; creation and photographing of tags + video of tag weathering | removal | tagging over.
  • Tag[G]alle[r]y (2012) – Outreach-focused street tag project – images addressed cancer treatment | ‘survivor’ narrative with links to resources.

Photo-documentary | Street photography

  • BeSpoke (2019) – stock images for The Art of the Bicycle
  • [Clark × Salem] (2018) – Image series – urban gardens
  • CSA II (2017) – Art | Farm collaboration – art inspired by life, work, and the land on Maine farms (collaboration through Harlow Gallery, Hallowell, ME).
  • StreetGods (2014 – 2017) – Wings, stars and light – that unexpected holy.
  • Arcana (2013 – 2016) – Images explored symbolism of the Tarot Major Arcana through street interactions & reflections in Portland, Maine.
  • Quiet Ones (2013 – 2014) – Window-shop wigs; evolving Portland and the source – both in the locale and the market.
  • the girl who (2012 – 2013) – Images and text series explored self-identity and versions of the ‘truth’ of fear and freedom  [with Elective Arts Collaborative]
  • Havana (2012) – Images explored contemporary urban culture in Havana, Cuba.
  • Portrait (2010 – 2013) – Go for a walk, share a conversation, take a picture or don’t; unlearn time, relearn wandering. Trust that leaving an office was the right thing to do.

Writing | Creative or Research

  • Gainesville | RootStock (2020 – ongoing) – making sense of the where and when
  • Pocket Full of 9Vs | Spirit Level (2017 – 2019) – technical | creative collaborative
  • Elsaesser Fellowship (2017 – 2018) – history and legacy of mercury and silver mining in Latin America (public health project ongoing).

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