Karolina Adams admits she’s not the best communicator.
That’s why she uses her artwork to express her innermost thoughts and feelings.
Her drawings demonstrate a minimalist aesthetic – often portraying faceless figures in blank landscapes.
Some pieces are sweet and charming, like the one depicting a friendly elephant. But others are darker and delve deep into Adams’s thoughts on depression and anxiety.
“My endless need to purge out my emotions is what creates my artwork,” Adams told SanTan Sun News. “I’m not a great verbal communicator so drawing is how I communicate best.”
A collection of Adams’s pieces will be on display this month at the Vision Gallery in downtown Chandler.
The Chandler artist named her exhibit “Work in Progress” because of her fascination with personal growth and her lifelong pursuit for self-improvement.
“I’m always working on accepting and loving myself with all the quirks and shortcomings,” Adams added. “I think that’s true freedom.”
The works are intended to be raw and thought-provoking, the artist said and almost serve as a window into her mind.
One of the artist’s favorite pieces examines the obsessive need to please others and seek their approval.
The drawing, which Adams calls “My Endless Need for Approval,” portrays a faceless humanoid tethered to a jumble of giant letters which spell out “approval.”
A large hand enters the picture’s foreground with a pair of scissors to cut the humanoid loose of their baggage.
“It’s about feeling confident in your own skin,” Adams explained about the drawing. “I’m a people-pleaser, so this one is hard for me to shake.”
Another drawing shows the humanoid being pushed down by a giant finger – a symbol for the pressure everyone puts on themselves.
Metaphors are commonly deployed throughout Adams’s portfolio as a means to illustrate an abstract idea.
In one piece, the artist displays her fear of change by drawing a caterpillar and a butterfly on opposing sides.
Insomnia is captured in another drawing, depicting her humanoid character perched upon a crescent moon.
Though her artwork is introspective and personal, Adams says she attempts to project relatable feelings by telling stories through simple objects.
“Every one of us goes through strengths, weaknesses, limitations and triumphs in life and we all deal with different feelings,” she said. “People who view my work get lost in the stories while finding themselves in the emotion of it.”
Art served as a comfort to Adams throughout her childhood, as she found herself better able to connect with the characters in her paintings than with other kids.
She put her artistry on hold to study interior architecture at Chicago’s Columbia College.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, she spent a few years working as a commercial designer before she got burned out by the rigid work schedule.
Adams quit her job to devote more time to creating art and has had her work displayed in galleries and festivals across the Phoenix area for the last few years.
She was recently part of a group of female artists who contributed their work for the “She Tempe” public art project in downtown Tempe.
“Work in Progress” will be on display at the Vision Gallery from Oct. 12 to Nov. 15.
More information about the artist can be found at karolinaadams.com.