Carol Korpi McKinley is an internationally acclaimed American artist best known for her large-scale depictions of fruits, vegetables and animals, as well as her lush, color-drenched landscapes. Her artwork is exhibited in numerous corporate and private collections around the world.
Born in northern Michigan, Carol spent her childhood surrounded by creativity. Her parents, being true entrepreneurs, were always seeking out new endeavors and adventures. They instilled in her early on that spirit of adventure and resourcefulness. She received her first set of paints at the age of four, became fascinated with the colors, and hasn’t stopped painting since. While exploring different career options, Carol met S. Terry and Cynthia Cowgill and was intrigued by the artistic freedom they possessed. Soon after that, she realized her calling was to pursue her art full time. She began studying sculpture while continuing to paint, and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University in 1991.
The continuity in Carol’s work revolves around her attraction to single objects. “I like to idolize one thing, and focus in on it. There’s something about the simplicity of that one object that I’m drawn to.” Most of her paintings are part of a series of large works, such as the Fresco Fruit and Vegetable Collection, the Bright Animal Collection, the Farm Animal Series, and the Junk Food Collection. She brings life, freshness and harmony to each object she portrays. Not to limit herself, Carol also creates magnificent landscapes, often combining different subjects she encounters on her many travels. Her visually appealing large-scale works continue to sell out, earning her fans around the globe.
Carol is an incredibly diverse artist, seeing ideas, inventions, new projects, and new mediums everywhere around her. While always keeping painting as her main focus, she continues to study other mediums and outlets to augment her creativity and keep that excitement alive in her work. Whether it’s wood, metal, ceramics or glass, you never know what will catch her eye and be transformed into a work of art. Frequently taking classes in subjects as diverse as metal embossing, tile painting, drums and acting contributes to her versatility as an artist. “Everything balances off of everything else; everything lends itself to something else.” An avid reader and book collector, she is also on a constant quest for knowledge, always curious as to how things are made, how they work, how they’re put together, and how she can change them.
When she’s not in her studio painting or studying, Carol is traveling the world with her husband John, in search of adventure and inspiration. While on an extensive tour of Europe, stops in Giverny, Paris, Nice, Saint Paul de Vence and Saint Tropez were particularly memorable. Hiking in the Himalayas a few years ago awakened in her a spiritual connection to the deep-rooted traditions and culture of the region. Trips to Bangkok, Thailand and the rainforests of South Asia have also helped to supplement her vast reserve of future projects. Safaris, balloon rides over the Serengeti, treks through Africa, Australia and New Zealand were a few of her many adventures, almost fulfilling her goal of covering seven continents in five years. Carol takes thousands of photos on her journeys, writes, and records the native sounds. Her home is filled with artifacts and reminders from her travels, which she then combines to form works of art themselves. Whether at home, or anywhere in the world, she possesses that artistic freedom and vision that provide her with a limitless supply of new ideas.