Isaac Karner

Isaac Karner was born on November 17, 1981 in western Colorado. Being the son and grandson of painters, he was involved in art-making from an early age. He grew up in a working-class home in a small agricultural town, where art was always viewed as a hobby. The first in his family to attend college, he moved to Springfield, Missouri in 2000 to major in Biblical Studies at Evangel University. After taking a painting class there, he discovered that art was more than a hobby–it was his calling. He transferred to the BFA program and studied there until 2003, when he became a father and transferred to Missouri State Universityʼs BFA program. There, he studied both ceramics and painting until 2008, when he left college to support his two children. 

Since college, Karner has worked a variety of jobs while continuing to create art. In 2012, he left his job to start his own art installation business and devote more time to art. His work has been exhibited in several galleries in Springfield, Missouri, and he had he honor to speak about his work at Ozarks Technical Community College. He has also been involved in a number of community-based art projects. He was privileged to travel to Cíudad Juaréz, Mexico to take part in a project with students from the Rocky Mountain College of Art+Design entitled, “Beautifying the Barrio.” He also partnered with the Springfield Healthy Living Alliance to create a mural at a local elementary school as part of their gardening initiative. Since moving back to Colorado with his wife and children in 2013, he has been a guest artist at Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies in Boulder, Colorado, where he collaborated with elementary-aged students to create works based on themes chosen by the students. 

Karner currently lives and works in Broomfield, Colorado. His work is multidimensional  and interdisciplinary, drawing on themes of redemption and hidden truth. He works in a wide variety of mediums and techniques including oils, watercolor, assemblage, collage, clay, and lighting to create works that are a combination of traditional painting and three dimensional elements. Each of Karnerʼs works is representative of a struggle to understand and enunciate the his faith in relationship to the world around him.


I strive to make accessible art which speaks of redemption and hope without ignoring or trivializing the plights of our society. I choose discarded material symbolically, based on its function or history, then place it in the context of a painted image. In connecting the literal and metaphorical definitions of objects and images, I am attempting to make a connection between physical and spiritual realities. I want to expose the reality that, though there is decay all around us, beauty can be found in spite of and even through it. The colors and textures of things left to the mercy of the elements–whether it be the gray, weathered wood of an old shed, or a rusty piece of abandoned farm equipment–have fascinated me since I was a boy. I find that the process of decay can take what is artificial and boring and give it character, interest, and even soul. I see this as a metaphor for what is possible in us, and hope my art reflects that. 

On my good days, I am aware of the fact that I am channeling ideas more than creating a piece of art. Often, my subject matter is about things I cannot fully comprehend, but are true nonetheless.