My name is Karla Kay Benjamin. I am an artist that specializes in hand painted silk items focusing on scarves and wall hangings. In 2020, I began experimenting with Liquid Acrylics/Dutch Pour/Mixed Media/Abstract Paintings. I am just starting to expand into prints making paper prints as well as fabric prints of my designs. I have also started a YouTube channel demonstrating how I paint on silk and I offer art classes out of my art studio in Arlington, WA.
I grew up in Redmond, Washington before Microsoft made it cool. I lived in a rural setting on 5 acres with my family and our animals. I made my first piece of artwork was when I was about 4 yrs. old. I learned I could melt my crayons over the heat vent in my bedroom and I applied the colored wax to the wall. I remember the excitement of seeing colors I liked next to each other. I was fascinated when the colors merged and became new colors. While I was very young at the time I still feel the same feelings when I think about the time I spent on that piece. My parents were not so amused.
I grew up riding horses, playing in the woods near our home. We were frequently visited by deer, coyotes, raccoon, bear, eagles, hawks, rabbits and more animals. I played in streams, fished in rivers, lakes and ponds and skied in the mountains each winter. Life was good.
I attended college at Washington State University and then Arizona State University and have a BFA with an emphasis in Fiber Arts/Surface Design. I enjoy working on fabric because when the fabric moves it seems to bring the art to life. I enjoy working on silk because of the beautiful way it absorbs the dyes and shimmers when it moves and the light hits it. In 2020, I began experimenting with Liquid Acrylics and Dutch Pour/Mixed Media designs and have expanded my art repertoire into abstract paintings.
After receiving my art degree from ASU in 1989, I taught art for a bit and then looking for more consistent pay and benefits I took a job with Snohomish County Superior Court. Initially I utilized my art skills working with youth to create art for public display as part of their community service requirements. I was able to get their art displayed at Community Colleges, libraries, court buildings and in galleries. I then co-created the Blanche Miller Art Exhibition matching troubled youth up with artist mentors and continued to expand the public exposure of their art. I worked may way up through the court system to become a Drug Court Coordinator for Adult Drug Court with the Snohomish County Superior Court and I served on the Washington State Association of Drug Court Professionals as Finance Director helping organize the annual Drug Court Conference. After my mother died from cancer in 2009 I had a couple cancer scares myself. A peer told me about the movie “The Secret” and after viewing it, I decided I needed some me time and I decided to pursue my passion for art.
In May of 2016, 16 years after going to work at the county, I quit my job with the county and went to work for myself making art. I have never looked back. It was a scary decision to make but I am doing well. I look forward to each day the spark of creativity it brings and I am meeting all my sales goals. I am very proud of my company – Karla Kay Art.