Karen Scopa (1974 - 2017)
Artist: Educator: Designer: Researcher: Friend
Karen was elected on to the Committee of Management of the Paisley Art Institute on October 2016. She was winner of the Derwent Award at the 128th Exhibition and the William and Mary Armour Award at the 129th Exhibition. The following tribute is given from a colleague and friend.
Our beloved Karen. Let's remember her beautiful face, her wide vivacious smile beaming upon us all, her lovely laugh and her bright sparkling eyes. Stylish, mischievous, funny, self-confident, always ready to try new things and meet new people. Let's remember Karen's powerful intellect, her appetite for learning, her enthusiasm for life, for art, for cinema, for dance. She loved to dance, discovering ceroc first, eventually settling on tango. She was a talented painter, a maker, a researcher, a teacher. She was also a good, kind and loyal friend, always encouraging - she loved hearing about new projects and new ideas and she was generous with her time, helping other people with their projects as well as her own. She was a dynamo with a fearsome work ethic.
Karen was very modest about her talents and achievements. Despite gaining a first class degree in Fine Art and selling work from her degree show in 1995, she decided not to work full time as an artist. She was intellectually inquisitive and pragmatic about earning a living, so she pursued an academic career within the visual arts. In 2003, her self-discipline, integrity, tenacity and determination to the point of stubbornness helped her to achieve her doctorate in a new field: research into how visual artists collaborate with other disciplines. Karen became a dedicated and hardworking college lecturer and consultant and her interest in collaboration ran like a thread through her teaching and life. Although work was demanding, she continued researching and publishing papers.
And in her personal life, her strength of character helped her to meet the challenge of Crohn's disease and to survive the deaths of beloved family members. She was a faithful and loyal daughter; putting her mother's health and wellbeing first.
In the final years of her life, Karen returned to her personal art practice and began to exhibit again; from a studio in her loft and an Arduino workshop in her spare room, she painted and made kinetic sculptures. Her talent was still evident: in 2016 and 2017 she won awards from the distinguished Paisley Art Institute Annual Exhibition.
We will never know what Karen would have gone on to make as a mature artist; but her website offers clues. Its images show us that the intense passion of her youthful art was still powerfully evident in her last works. Karen's artistic fire was undimmed - she remained 'a force of nature'.
Karen - we love you, we miss you and we are so sorry to lose you.
Tribute to Dr Karen Scopa 16 January 2018 by Susannah Silver