(b. 1984) Kara de Dios is a Visual Communications graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, her thesis for which bagged her the 2008 UP CFA Juror’s Choice for Best Thesis. A traditionally-trained artist, graphic designer, and web developer, Kara’s work experience uniquely includes Design Director for Kalibrr Technology Ventures, Flash animator for MTech, Inc.’s mobile phone products, and Web Design, Development, and Programming for Treehouse, an online education tool for learning how to code. She has created illustrations for Rogue magazine, Manila Envelope Magazine, and United Nations Women.
On top of this impressive resume, Kara is also a visual artist, her first love being drawing. Of her style, Kara says “I used to draw predominantly in black and white to not distract from the form, and shunned any use of other colors. But I found such joy in color once I started exploring it.” Her first solo exhibition in 2015 was aptly entitled In the Pink, utilizing mostly pink, flesh, and peach tones punctuated by deep reds and vibrant blacks. Populated by only women, Kara hones in on the beauty of the female form and female body parts, then throws out the rules halfway through. “I always felt that anything objectively and typically beautiful was boring,” she says, painting meticulously beautiful women swimming in their soupy universe, while simultaneously surrounding them with mountain-like boobs and boob-head characters. Kara’s “pretty-but-weird” Egon Schiele-esque bodies with peachy skin rubbed raw at the edges has become her signature style.
Kara has exhibited at a number of group shows at F+Art, Pablo Gallery, Prose Art Gallery, ManilArt 2014, and under Galerie Stephanie at Art Fair Tokyo in 2015 with her husband Rom Villaseran and naïf artist Carlo Ongchangco. Her work was showcased in the Philippine Curatorial Section of Art Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s art fair representing North and Southeast Asia. As a contemporary artist, Kara’s ripened imagery is as visually seductive as it is heavy with its yoke of feminist imagery.