Historical Museum Features Multitalented Arizona Artist | Our community

Aa young girl, Karen Kuykendall made frequent trips to the San Diego Zoo because she was fascinated by animals.

Born in 1928 and a child of the Great Depression, she also became passionate about geology and astronomy as she got older and spent a lot of time at the Natural History Museum.

All of these interests are reflected in his works, now on display in a dedicated room at the Mesa Historical Museum. (mesahistoricalmuseum.com)

Kuykendall studied commercial illustration at the Art Center in Los Angeles and cinematic costume design at the Chinouard Art Institute in California.

She visited Arizona in the 1950s and fell in love with the desert landscape, which would later become the inspiration for the landscapes she created for her imaginary kingdom, “The Outer Regions”.

She moved to Arizona and earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Arizona.

She eventually moved in 1966 to Casa Grande, where she remained until her death in 1998.

Early in her artistic career, Kuykendall became interested in science fiction and fantasy art. However, his works have often been dismissed as “illustrations and not art”.

She gave up fantasy illustrations until 1977, when she attended a sci-fi convention in Los Angeles and found that her sci-fi/fantasy works were finally being appreciated.

This encouraged her to publish Cat People and Other Inhabitants of the Outer Regions, which details the “Out Regions” fantasy kingdom she created.

While many of Kuykendall’s later artworks focused on her fantasy realm, she used a wide range of subjects and styles.

She has painted everything from Native Americans and ancient Egyptians, to hippie-inspired art from the 60s and 70s, to papier-mâché sculptures of people and animals.

She was often proud of the fact that when she displayed her work at a booth, most people would not believe that all the art was created by one artist due to the different styles she used.

She has also incorporated different mediums into her works, including watercolor, oil paint, tempera on sand, papier-mâché, as well as costume and jewelry making.

Her more than 1,000 works of art consisting of paintings, sculptures, dolls, jewelry and costumes are now part of the permanent collection of the Mesa Historical Museum and are the subject of a new exhibition.

This is the first time some of Kuykendall’s designs have been seen by the public in 25 years. ′


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