I met Karen, the owner and creative mastermind behind the Tusinski Gallery, about 15 yrs ago. She was the first artist I started collecting. We were both at a turning point in our careers. I had started Habitat and she was being featured in local galleries in Rockport. We hit it off immediately. I loved her paintings and she loved my clothes. We’ve collaborated ever since. She’s painted a few commissions for me and I own 11 of her paintings now! Because Karen and her work inspire me so much, I wanted to share a little bit about both of us. Learn more below!
- What about (art/fashion, or each other) inspires you in your own work?
KAREN: Nature is one of the top influencers & inspirations for my paintings. Everything in nature replicates itself….as in my Pebble Beach paintings. the pebbles are repeated over & over & over…not unlike the leaves on trees….or even the grid like structures we see in buildings….rectangles, grids, triangles….we are constantly absorbing these patterns in a visual way on a daily basis. As seen in my floral paintings as well….I enjoy repeating patterns….I see pattern everywhere! (Not unlike Suzanne’s line work on fabric,(grid, squares, ie. check pattern) or button placement- when she uses different sized buttons on the same garment; this is one unique feature about Habitat clothing I find to be one creative feature that sets this clothing apart from other clothing.
SUZANNE: I love art museums and galleries, especially where I can learn the stories behind the artists. Learning about their inspirations helps me to be more aware of what inspires me.
- What do you love about Habitat? / What do you love about Karen’s artwork?
KAREN: Interesting personal story: When I used to work at the Madras Shop in Rockport, we used to carry Habitat clothing line & I used to buy the clothes back then in the late 1990’s because it complimented my aesthetic styling, artsy & well fitted for my body. I didn’t want to wear what everyone else was wearing & just a few years later, after I stopped working at the Madras Shop, I had a studio in The Beacon Marine Basin Building in Gloucester where I first met Suzanne who I then learned to be the owner of Habitat & she commissioned me to do an abstract painting for her based on her living room. This was the first time I even put a curve in my painting–as the majority of my paintings at the time were based on the grid & rectangle forms & completely non-objective. (abstract)
SUZANNE: I’m drawn to the organic shapes and textures in Karen’s paintings. I can’t remember a time when I’ve walked into her gallery and didn’t want to take something home. I’ve lost count of how many of her paintings I own at this point.
- How do you feel creativity is reflected in your work?
KAREN: While my ‘tool’ to express myself is paint. I think any artist must finds his or her medium that personally speaks to that person. I also think Habitat sets itself apart from other lines not only because of the look & feel of the clothing, but because the fit feels like Suzanne knows the female body, her clothing FITS & is comfortable & flattering for every body shape & has an artsy flair that again, I find speaks to me when I shop.
SUZANNE: I’ve often tried to use Pantone color chips to match the gorgeous earth tone shades in Karen’s paintings. The combinations of colors are relaxing and balanced to me so I love living with them.
- What led you to this path of following your passion of art/fashion?
KAREN: I come from a long line of artists on the polish side, my fathers side of the family.
Once I started college, I knew after my first painting class I was a painter, (like my father, & his father etc). Painting is an extension of who I am. I think of painting all day long…& everyday I look closely for color & combinations of patterns for inspiration.
SUZANNE: I knew at an early age I liked art and fashion. My parents collected original art from local artists and my mom was quite the fashionista. I’ve always loved what clothing can do. It’s powerful. As a young girl, I watched my mom’s weekly transformation take place for Saturday nights out with dad. It was much like witnessing a super hero transforming. She seemed powerful and mystical to me. The next morning she’d be back in her bathrobe, sponge in hand, cleaning the kitchen.
- If you could live a day in the life in another persons shoes, what would you want to experience?
KAREN: I suppose if I could live in the shoes of Agnes Martin for one day, it would be remarkable. Her works also reminds me of Habitat clothing, very linear, grid like.
SUZANNE: I would be head curator for the Louvre. I’d instantly have all that knowledge and access to the most beautiful things in the world.
- How do you feel your brands are similar?
KAREN: I truly believe like a painting in ones home, clothing has the power to change how we feel about ourselves, in the most positive & happy way possible. Therein lies one of the most common denominators of OUR works & designs….to make our lives better & happier!!
SUZANNE: Habitat is to clothing what Karen is to paintings. We both love organic, sophisticated shapes in beautiful colors and textures.
Below are some samples of Karen’s artwork – view more at: https://www.tusinskigallery.com/