Living life like a dream. Your reality is painted by the energy you put out into the universe. It has been a wonderful, out of this world experience meeting and getting to know Karen Bystedt, the genius behind the Lost Warhols, a collection of art and photography of the Late Andy Warhol. Karen's artistic vision has gained notice among celebrities and fashion icons alike. We celebrate her as our muse and photograph her amongst her art in her studio in DTLA.
PRUNE: Introduce yourself to our readership
KAREN: My name is Karen Bystedt, I am a mixed media artist who started out as a photographer. I first fell in love with photography while I attended NYU film school. My background uniquely prepared me for the place I'm at today. I grew up moving every year and a half, which was difficult but it enabled me to relate to many people with different cultures and backgrounds. My mother emphasized art and culture. This now serves me as an artist who is known as the collaboration Art queen.
PRUNE: Talk to us about The Lost Warhols.
KAREN: My true relationship with Andy Warhol began when I found my negatives in 2011. I conceptualized making the original images of Andy into the art by allowing contemporary artists to pay homage to him. I created a canvas for fine and street artists to paint and create mixed media artworks. I called the collection The Lost Warhols. My first show for The Lost Warhols in 2014 was titled "Andy Goes Street." For this show, I curated collaborations with a select group of street and contemporary artists.
PRUNE You’ve collaborated with some big names, one being Chris Brown. How did “Late Night” come about? What inspired this project?
KAREN I met Chris Brown through Orlando Aguillen who was consulting with me at the time. Orlando's background was in music so I asked him if he had connections to any hip hop artists who painted and he suggested Chris. Chris was interested in collaborating with me and so I set up for him to paint at a recording studio loft-like space in Culver City. He arrived fashionably with a friend in his red Ferrari. I bought the spray paint colors he requested and had a canvas of Andy ready on an eisle. I was amazed to see how talented a painter he was. On this day, we created our "Halo" collaboration. Chris and I went on to create a total of five collaborative pieces together, as well as a Mural at Blick on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. About Karen Bystedt Art In 2016, I felt compelled to create my own art. That is when I created the King Kollection, as well as the Queen Kollection, for which I use myself as the art and create an alter ego of the Gold Queen. I am a conceptual artist whose mission in life is to create art which promotes Inclusion, both in my own art and with all my collaborations. The Queen Kollection promotes female empowerment and is beloved by both women and men. In fact, many men approach me to be painted gold and I have now extended the collection to Gold Queens and Kings.
PRUNE: Fashion is a big part of your art. What inspires your style?
KAREN: I do love fashion and very early in my art career was given a gown by my dear friend Nabil Hayari (Paris) who I met at an auction in Monaco. I believe that Art, Fashion, Music, and Sports can all be connected through art. I look forward to launching my own label later this year.
PRUNE: Talk to us about your Jean-Michael Basquiat project.
KAREN: I am very excited and honored to partner with Johnny Brower, C.E.O. of Venice Modern Art. I will be curating an original image created by Jean-Michel Basquiat for the album cover for the OFFS in the eighties. Johnny approached me to curate this important work, as I have done for the Lost Warhols.
I just want to add that I love working with talented creatives and it’s been a pleasure to work with Michael St. Michael and Andrea Allison of Prune magazine, as well as my very talented photographer for this shoot Matthew Doheny. Thank you as well to Ivan Bitton Style House and Ida Novotel for the stunning hat and gowns given to me for this shoot.
PHOTOGRAPHY: MATT DOHENY
WARDROBE: IVAN BITTON STYLE HOSUE
EIC: MICHAEL ST. MICHAEL
ED: ANDREA ALLISON
INTERVIEW: DYLAN RUBINSTEIN