Karen Jerzyk explains how he came up with her project “Colour Series”:
“The story behind my “Color Series” ironically does not come from a particularly vibrant place. That is, it was born from the typical bullying and cruelty that only the internet has to offer. Back in 2014, I had gotten arrested for trespassing- an “activity” I would often partake in due to the nature of most of my photography (most of my photos are set in a “decayed” scene). Somehow, the story made both national and international news. I was scared and stressed out, because I was clearly being made an example of. Because the photo community in my area is severely catty and unprofessional, I instantly became the victim of bullying and harassment. I was horrified to see people I didn’t know and had never met/spoken to leaving horrendous comments on all sorts of forums. “She needed to be knocked down a couple pegs”, “she’s such a bitch”, “she deserves to go to jail forever”, “her photos suck”, and so on and so forth. The comment that deeply resonated with me was one that stated “maybe she will finally stop taking photos”. Luckily, I’m the kind of person who uses terrible life events and situations to light a fire under my ass. So people wanted me to stop taking photos, eh? They thought I’d stop? Naaaaah. I had a couple months to wait and lay low before my court date, but I wanted to show people that I don’t just stop doing something when things go bad (that’s ridiculous!).
So, I feverishly cleaned out a little stone room in my basement and used it to do some self-portraits, so I had material to post to show people that I wasn’t out of the photography game. From there, I started collecting antiques and a year later had saved up enough money to commission a carpenter friend of mine to build a “wooden room” within the stone room- essentially, a giant wooden box that was about 7×7 feet. As life moved on, it laid dormant for a few months as I worked on other projects. In April 2016, my mother gave me a final warning- I HAD to get rid of the TV that had been in our driveway all winter because it was an eyesore. The TV was from the late 80s- a vintage beauty, if you will- but it didn’t really fit the aesthetic of any projects I had coming up. I had gotten it for free, and for some reason was determined to, in some way, destroy it for a photo. For a while, I had considered bringing it out into the woods and lighting it on fire, but I’m sure that’s been done a million times before. So here I am, standing in my backyard, staring at this TV…and I notice a can of spray paint behind it (yes, my backyard is a mess because of my shenanigans). A blue can of spray paint. I thought maybe, just MAYBE, it would be cool to paint the entire thing blue. But then what? Aesthetically, that’s weird, and doesn’t really match anything. Well, what if I painted other props blue? What if I painted the furniture blue? WHAT IF I PAINTED THE WHOLE DAMN ROOM BLUE?!?!? So, off I went to buy one of those high-powered paint guns and the rest is history. Blue was the first color I did, and everything else followed after. From April 2016-August 2016, I spent well over 1,000 hours designing entire rooms, painting them, and tearing them down for the next. The subjects I used ran the gamut of experienced, established models to people who hired me for family photos to friends and family. On average, it would take me about 15 hours to “create” one room. Once the hot weather hit, I was taking about 5 showers a day to wash the disgusting sweatiness off me from working in the tiny space and busting my ass moving the furniture outside to paint, wiring up skeletons, nailing things to the walls, etc etc. I completed the project this August (2016), and was elated to have completed such an ambitious undertaking. So, here they are, all 11 of my color series photos. Enjoy!”