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He attended Leith School of Art in Edinburgh and has found particular interest in the development of calligraphic plates as works of art.
These unusual and original designs are inspired by characters drawn from life with backgrounds that reflect symbols or the atmosphere inspired by the individual or image. Many have a humorous, pensive or dark edge to them. All reflect Karl’s continuing interest in people and what lies beneath the surface.
Before becoming a full time artist, Karl’s work and life experience included running bookshops, a wildlife park, collecting snakes, managing record/book shops and bars before starting work in local government.
Karl Stern’s works are designed with the intention that the plates make the work, but some are suitable for printing and a very limited number of unique mono-prints may be available (1 to 4 individual images are printed from the plate using different colours.) Card plates are cut live with a blade, then shellacked to strengthen and preserve the cut image. One type of shellac can lend a golden/wooden tone to the card. Or clear shellac is used with mixed pigments to colour the plate. Some images are more abstracted than others. The detail and textures worked into the surface are enhanced by the brushwork and the use of printing inks rubbed into the card. The surface cuts and textures in turn influence the qualities in the prints. The Plates are mounted in a ‘tray’ frame leaving the textural image exposed for gentle exploration by the viewer. Prints are available mounted or framed.
In 2013 Karl’s work was selected for show in both the RGI and RSA Open shows. In 2014 he was selected for show at the PAI and won the Small Painting Prize.
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