Karla Funderburk: Art Matters

Karla Funderburk: Art Matters

In a world of turmoil, art matters more than ever. At least, that’s what today’s guest Karla Funderburk believes. As the Founder of Matter Studio Gallery, ceramic artist and master carpenter, Funderburk realized her longstanding vision for an exhibition space where artists from Southern California can share their work and their voices.

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As much an art gallery as a vital community hub that celebrates inclusiveness through artistic expression, Matter Studio Gallery fills an essential need in the ever-evolving city of Los Angeles. Joining us today, Karla shares the story behind the name of the gallery and how she hopes to make a difference, one visitor at a time.

“You matter and you matter to me. We are matter. We do matter. People laugh when I say that, but that is the spirit behind [Matter Gallery] and that is my intention, is to hopefully communicate that [what] you’re experiencing, what you’re feeling, those make a difference.” — Karla Funderburk [0:44:25]

Memorial Crane Project

“If anyone takes a moment to come through that door [into the gallery], they are honoring me and my space, so I choose to take a moment, stop what I’m doing, and let them know that it matters to me—therefore the name, [Matter Gallery]. Each person matters. [It matters] that they come into the gallery. They matter. Their ideas matter to me. I want to hear what they have to say. My intention is that they feel ‘a part of’ and that this is a space where they are safe and they can be heard. Hopefully, we can grow together in some way or another. We never know our impact immediately. Sometimes, we can witness a transformation, but often it happens much later.” — Karla Funderburk [0:10:08]

We discuss the sometimes unseen impact of art, finding a balance between making art and making a living, and the power that art has to shine a light on injustice and connect people rather than divide them. You’ll also learn about the Memorial Crane Project, a nonprofit organization that Karla created to commemorate the victims of COVID-19, and how it holds space for the memorials many people were unable to have, plus so much more.

After listening to this episode, we hope that you will not only be inspired to pursue your own creative visions but also see art as a way to raise awareness, create empathy, and foster collective healing. Tune in today to find out why art matters!

“The goal [of the Memorial Crane Project] is to create a shift and connect as opposed to divide. Our previous administration was very focused on the division and the response, hopefully, can be one of connection, community, coming together, and holding each other—holding space for each other, supporting each other.” — Karla Funderburk [0:43:05]

One handmade memorial crane
One handmade memorial crane

Key Points From This Karla Funderburk Episode:

  • Why Karla believes that more people are honoring the deep, creative call to become artists.
  • The value of reintroducing art to school curriculums in an age of digital accessibility.
  • Insight into the name, Matter Gallery, and why each and every visitor matters to Karla.
  • The sometimes unseen impact of art and why even slow, incremental progress is important.
  • Karla shares a bit about her background and some of her earliest memories of art.
  • How Karla knew that she was a creator from a young age.
  • How she learned to monetize her creative output as a carpenter.
  • The artist’s struggle: finding a balance between making art and making a living!
  • Some of the risks Karla had to take in her career in order to pursue her vision.
  • Hear how the Memorial Crane Project “holds space for the memorials we’re not able to have.”
  • How art can shine a light on injustice and connect people rather than divide them.
  • How Karla hopes to make a difference with Matter Gallery, one person at a time.
  • The story behind the Japanese paper crane that inspired the Memorial Crane Project.
  • Where you can learn how to fold a paper crane and volunteer for the Memorial Crane Project.
  • The significance of the copper wire armatures that Karla suspends the cranes from.
  • Karla extends an invitation to listeners to look deeper, consciously connect with others, and stay open and willing to learn.
  • Why she believes that everything is interconnected and that every voice is important.
  • The hope Karla feels when seeing visitors walking among the cranes she has created.
Memorial Crane Project

“Everyone has a voice and everyone has something to say. Hopefully, we’ll find space to be better listeners.” — Karla Funderburk [0:07:45]

“My challenge was finding ways to maintain my creative perspective, my need to be creative, and still work within my artistic side [while also making] a living.” — Karla Funderburk [0:25:01]

“[The Memorial Crane Project] has such a healing, powerful message, but it’s also tangible. It’s transformative. You are physically impacted by it.” — Karla Funderburk [0:40:58]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

“If I can open my mind to understanding that my ideas are limited and if I open myself to the limitless, more could happen.” — Karla Funderburk [1:01:03]

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.