How long has your business been operating?

I've been operating as Karen Allen Art for just over 4 years.


What do you make and create?

I'm an illustrator/artist and author. I make a range of products from my drawings and paintings such as gift cards, fine art prints and several products aimed at the busy modern family - Magnetic Planners and Reward Charts. My greatest success so far is the writing and illustrating of my children's book 'An A - Z of Creatures', which was published in September 2016. I have been working towards a second book and am now in the Research stage and can't wait to get it out there into the big wide world (although it could take a first book took 2 years to draw!)



Tell me about the person you are in everyday life?

In my everyday life I am many things, I am a busy wife and mum to 3 school aged kids. I am an Artist - With all my kids in school this year I am trying to get into the rhythm of going to the studio 3 days a week working 6 hour days. I am a chauffeur - It's a busy household with kids going off to different schools, catching buses and/or being drive. I am an Event Coordinator - We have the usual after school activity lists and my husband works interstate and overseas so he is constantly coming and going. I am a Multi-tasker - As well as working for other people, both Hubby and I work for ourselves and I work in my husbands business when ever her needs me. I am a Chef and Kitchen Gardener - with many mouths to feed we cultivate a vegetable patch both at home and in a Community Orchard we are a part of, its a beautiful feeling just going out to the garden to pick the ingredients for a meal!

Tired from all that? Yeah, me too!

Luckily in this crazy busy life, we live a stones throw from the ocean in Phillip Island, We can often be found down the beach or in the surrounding bush on some adventure. And we are thankful every day for our lifestyle.



Tell me about why you love to create your products or brand?

Many moons ago I gave up my art to concentrate on bringing home the bacon. I hadn't painted in seven years when I became pregnant with my last child five years ago. We made a conscious decision for me to leave my full time job and refocus on my art and get back to my souls desire which was to create. I love my work because sometimes when I am painting or drawing I am taken outside of myself and put in touch with the creative force. A very powerful and addictive phenomena that I long for everyday. I often joke (not joke) to my family that all I really want to do is to lock myself away in a room and paint or draw forever.



Tell me about the space you work in to create your products?

I have a home based studio, it's little with not much natural light so you will actually find me in the dining room which is the front room of our house where you can see the sea. All my paints get scattered on the dining room table along with my easel too. There is now a little antique desk in the corner of the room where I can pile up all my work at the end of the day. On a warm day i will set up on the verandah outside, when the sun is shining it seems a crime to be inside as we live in an incredibly beautiful spot. One day I hope to build an outside studio, somewhere in the garden, but for now this will more than do.


Does your family help or have any input into what you do?

My family are my biggest fans. My children helped me choose the animals for my book and will always remark on my work in progress with encouraging words.



What are your short term goals?

Short term is to begin teaching childrens art classes this year, have an exhibition of a series I am painting and have at least half my new book drawn by the end of 2018.


What are your long term goals?

To establish an Art School here on Phillip Island, to be recognised as an Artist and Illustrator in my community and to one day have a space that includes a shop, Gallery and Workshop for teaching.


Do you have an inspiring message or quote for man kind?

'In the end only three things matter,

How much you loved.

How gently you lived

How gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.




Why do you love being a part of the Mermaid Sorority Markets?

I have been a part of the Market scene in Victoria for several years now and I have learnt to choose only the ones where it is clear that the organisers are there for the Makers and to provide a unique experience for the Customers. I love the sense of community and the way the Team at Mermaid Sorority want their Makers to succeed and grow in their business.

Thank you for this wonderful insight into your work and life - you are truly one creative individual and a true inspiration. x To see more of Karen's work CLICK HERE