Karrie Swanson


“Nothing is less real then realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.”
– Georgia O’Keeffe

As an artist you find inspiration in the smallest and largest places. I have found inspiration in the world around me. Nature brings inspiration to me and the artwork that I create. The color in which surrounds me, and the vivid images that follow me throughout my everyday life. This is what brings the design, thought and shape to the images I create.

A sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology, I was given the opportunity to study printmaking and right from the start of my studies in this medium, I was captivated. Master printmaker/professor Keith Howard's contagious passion and enthusiasm for his processes, swept me inexorably into a new role as an emerging print artist.

In my junior year, printmaking began to consume my studio life. During that first year, the 'Master Printmaking Program' was initiated, and because of my growing interest in the medium, I wanted to see what it would be like to work with a master printmaker. I soon found that his classes brought the students together as a team, to create amazing and unique prints.
In my senior year, I started a body of 'Four-Color Intaglio-Type' prints using images from a trip to the American west the previous summer. I had taken photos of rock lichens and cropped those photos to abstract them in ways that would provide options of interpretation to viewers. My senior year show was held at “Gallery r,” in downtown Rochester, New York. I was able to exhibit five 4-color works of lichen on rocks.

As an undergraduate, my work has led me to where I am now...the study and rendering of the natural beauty that surrounds us. I graduated Rochester Institute of Technology with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2007 and went right into the master’s program the fall of 2007.
I applied for and received the 'Windgate Fellowship', which opened new doors for me, beginning with workshops at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Keith Howard, Susan Rostow, and Hugh Bryden held these workshops where I was able to create art in yet another new way. I began to explore a more colorful balance between the abstract and the natural world.

I had been exploring various options my first year as a graduate student, including mono-printing in Santa Fe, and woodcuts with University of Nebraska professor Karen Kunc at the renowned Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass, CO. This woodcut training was exactly what I needed to further expand my thesis ideas. I created colored prints unlike all my previous work and I found myself making abstracts of what I felt trees really looked like. Printing from wood surfaces and using natural Mulberry paper, I explored ideas to take back to RIT for future works. The surroundings of Snowmass, CO brought inspiration to all of the pieces I created there.

Thanks to my Windgate stipend I was also able to purchase an SLR Canon digital camera, with which I later photographed my travels throughout Europe and the American west. I studied trees everywhere I went, looking at the bark, the condition, location and coloration of each one. Environments had become very important to my process. This is what then led me to my thesis show and the study of trees in which I did. My thesis ended up being an environmental look into the world of trees and we as human’s and nature it’s self has been and will continue to effect trees around the world. I made a series of eight four-color inversion intaglio-type prints. This was truly going back to my “roots”. This was the original process that I started doing and became a master printmaker at Rochester Institute of Technology. The thesis work, show and book were all a success and I graduated in 2009 with my Master’s in Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology with an Advanced Graduate Certificate from the School of Art.

I specialize in non-toxic printmaking, but have also studied in other realms of printmaking such as, mono-printing, etching, screen printing, woodcut and intaglio printmaking. I also enjoy doing watercolor, drawing and painting as well. In 2010 I moved out to Colorado Springs, CO. Currently I am employed at Catholic Health Initiatives Foundation as a project specialist. I design mailings, brochures and other graphic items for the foundations that we support. My love of nature has grown even more since living out in Colorado and I am always finding inspiration for new works of art everywhere I turn.

“The best friend on earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.” – Frank Llyod Wright


  • Photoshop
  • Excel
  • Word
  • Dreamweaver
  • InDesign
  • Printmaking and Fine Arts


  • Printmaking/Printing
  • Designing
  • Photoshop
  • Microsoft items
  • photography
  • and fine art techiques