Updated: Apr 15, 2021
"She woke today saying 'I WILL FLY' No questions asked No how? No why? Her soul was amped and took a thrust. Wings popped out because of trust. FLY GIRL was born on hope conceived Because she woke and just believed "
-Karen Ann Polka (artist, writer, and Fly Girl
Have you met Karen Polka? She really is as sassy and adorable as her photo suggests.
She is an original piece of art herself and has created a line of paintings called Fly Girl, inspired by the twenties woman who had newfound wings brought on by joining the workforce, gaining the right to vote, and a sexual revolution that established that women were actually the makers of their own destinies.
At the height of American consumerism, the Roaring Twenties epitomized all that was glitter and gold and conversely, all that was dark and seedy. While our market and manufacturing amazed the world, the contrast at home was stark. Discrimination was excessive and affected most of the country either through racism, sexism, or classism. Women felt this sting as the conventional roles for them passed lines of race and class. With the ratification of the 19th amendment in August of 1920, the new decade was full of possibilities and hope for women.
The Gatsby Girl collection of artwork is a reflection of the women who paved the way for shorter hems, non-existent waistlines (which, in turn, got rid of corsets), and drinking and smoking with the boys. It would also lead us to a march right into the workforce and eventually to a pivot in the roles that women were to play. Each of Karen's girls tells a story. Each one has a struggle and a hope to share with you.
I was sitting at Wine Down 109 in Englewood, enjoying a martini, when I happened upon Karen's artwork. It was perfect for what we wanted to do on the gallery walls at the Englewood Row Art Gallery. She had a few smaller paintings on display and I instantly felt that this was an artist that I would find a kindred spirit in. And when she called me a Fly Girl the first time, I knew that I had Become! Karen's art is still on display at both the art gallery and Wine Down 109. We look forward to having you meet them at the Englewood Row Gallery in June. With any luck, ghosts of women past will be there whispering their stories to you.