Karina Kalvaitis was born and raised in southern Alberta to a family of artists/creators who were always working on one project or another. From the start she loved making things and she loved animals. Her personal menagerie consisted at times of cats, a dog, fish, birds, newts, hermit crabs, hamsters and gerbils. As a child she wanted to be a biologist but in high school the call to create saw her decide on a career in the arts. She enrolled at the Alberta College of Art and Design (Calgary, Canada). Drawn to learn how the human-made world was put together, she chose sculpture as a discipline and explored as many mediums as possible. She graduated with a degree in sculpture and later studied theatre prop building at the Banff Centre in Alberta.
Throughout her artistic career animals have remained a theme, from them she finds inspiration and a connection to the emotional world that we humans often try to hide for the sake of appearances. With animals she finds ways into the truth of our struggles and triumphs, revelling in the beauty of vulnerability.
Karina has lived in Victoria since 1996 and is currently working as an artist full-time. Her studio is in the eclectic Rock Bay Square building near downtown Victoria.
My artwork depicts places that are known and yet enigmatic. Consider a half-remembered dream of a deep dark wood, a circus, an igloo, a tiny cave, a nest. A world you know the feel of even if you have never been. The creatures I portray are the familiar yet mysterious inhabitants of these places. They embody emotions and vulnerabilities that have become distorted yet are also closer to the truth, as sometimes happens in dreams.