In 1969 Karl Farrer was born in the gritty Medway Towns, a suburb of London called Kent. He ran away from home at the age of ten to 'Dreamland' in Margate. After finishing school and being refused an interview at a local art college he then went on to live for brief periods in America and Australia.
Karl returned to England to study Fine Art at Canterbury College, Winbledon School of Art and the University of East London. He was offered a place at the esteemed Royal College of Art after being appointed teaching positions and selected for a solo exhibition.
Karl has won several residencies and exhibited extensively, having his paintings and pinhole photographs published in numerous books. He has been selected for many presigious and influential awards and prize exhibitions. These include one of the oldest guilds in the City of London, the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers Prize and more recently, The Threadneedle Prize.
Karl has been featured in numerous publications including his own book ‘River’ written with Adventurer David Wise. This account of a three-day Canadian Canoe trip up the river Medway was documented with drawings, paintings and photographs using a phone camera, pinhole camera and a high-resolution digital camera.
Each book has a hand stamped cover by Billy Childish....Now Sold Out.
Television, media and film appearances include primetime BBC1 documentary 'Inside Out', ITV 6 O’clock News and the film 'Full Moon Over Dead Mans Island'.
Film and video making include 'The Tweed Run Film' and 'Elemental, A Force of Water'. A Public Art Project commissioned by Maidstone Borough Council and partly funded by the Arts Council to regenerate the river Medway.
He has worked with a variety of forms and mediums from public art, installation and projection to collaborative performance pieces early on in his career when he formed Sweet Fine Art Productions. To other exhibitions like ‘Sex and the age of innocence’ where he combined still and moving image pieces in the unusual gallery setting of a pub.
The subject matter varies greatly from science and popular culture to the more timeless classical themes of love, hope and despair. These subjects are frequently synthesized with his interest in the value of high/low art and the myth of the artist.
His palette, sometimes influenced by the ‘billboard’ of advertising culture with its feeling of artificial optimism, strikes a balance between what we see in terms of representation and the medium itself.
'Karl is often described as a rebel or rugged artist but describes himself quite simply, rather tongue-in-cheek, as a damn fine artist. He continues to shrug off categorization by rebelling against the notion of a signature style and that one needs a trademark in todays world.'
He believes his integrity as an artist is validated through his process of placing authenticity over originality.
“It seems if the artist has no niche, then he has no market. The art world wants artists to be innovative, yet validity and integrity appears to come only when it can place that artist in a particular category…I can’t sit comfortably in a pigeon hole.”