my life so far

Kerrie has been making art since her mother gave her old clip art books to collage into blank notebooks when she was tiny. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BFA in Photography and a BA in Art in 1994. Her work has since been shown all over the country in shows such as “Altered Books: Spine Bending Thrillers” at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ and in Low-Tech Time Capsules, Book Art for the Millennium at Seattle Tacoma International Airport. Her work has also appeared in The Art of Fabric Books by Jan Smiley, Making Memory Books by Hand: Memories to Keep and Share by Kristina Feliciano, Somerset Studio, ARTitude Zine, and in the magazine she publishes and edits: dog eared magazine ( She is also the author of Altered Art Books, published by Turtle Press. Currently her art may be found online, and at her studio in “The TK” in Pioneer Square.

A Place for Pets to Rest, mixed media on wood, 12x12 inches. ©2009 Kerrie E. Carbary

about my art…

My art is a commentary on how we are molded by time, circumstances, society and the family. I often use contrasting imagery or concepts to create a sense of how things came to be the way they are. Some examples are domestic vs. untamed, biological vs. sociological, and the individual vs. the group.

I love using collage like a paintbrush, going beyond just fitting elements together randomly, but cutting, coloring, tearing and creating my own imagery from my collage parts.

I am especially interested in using collage to create a record of memory. Memory can be shaped by conflicting elements, including family, society, genetics, culture, as well as the more scientific influences of brain chemistry, cells, and blood. I am also interested in cultural and family myths and tales and how they can take the place of actual physical truth, and in fact become truth.

One issue that has been prominent in my recent work is my personal struggle for individual identity using myth and a created history. I have never met many of my blood relatives, so I am intrigued by how much of my identity has been predetermined by genetics compared to how much of me has been constructed by interacting with the people around me. I am especially intrigued by personal history and how one’s belief in history forms one’s soul.

My work sometimes makes use of the symbols that shape us into who we are, whether those symbols are taken from a mother’s story to her child or a commercial on T.V. These symbols have become an important tool that I use to visually communicate my feelings about the history that shapes us.

These miniature collages are a perfect replacement for a social, spiritual and cultural family snapshot. Instead of a faded photo in a tattered scrapbook, my miniature collages document an emotional history that I hope can be understood in a universal way. The small size relates to small photographic snapshots and mementoes, but also gives the viewer an opportunity experience the artwork with an intimacy that might be lacking in a larger wall piece.

I also feel very strongly about keeping art approachable, accessible and available to all. If you find a piece that sings to you, but can’t afford it, please let me know. We might be able to work out a trade or some other kind of deal.