Tori Karpenko received his BFA from Drake University, where he graduated cum laude and majored in painting. During his sophomore year, he attended the Lorenzo de Medici Institute of Italian Studies in Florence, Italy.
Tori pursued additional education after graduation in a Biodynamic Agriculture internship at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. He continues to pursue food, culture, and land issues with his artwork. Tori has been exhibiting art regionally in North Central Washington and in Seattle since moving to Washington in 2000.
In 2001 Tori joined the Confluence Gallery & Art Center's Board of Directors, and was elected chairman in 2002. During his tenure, the organization succeeded in purchasing the building that houses their gallery and class space. He has also been active on the Methow Arts teaching roster since 2003, and has led several dynamic learning experiences in the public school system. Since 2008 he has served as a regional ambassador for Artist Trust in Seattle.
In 2011 Tori began working for TwispWorks, a community inspired project that is repurposing a 6.5 acre, seventeen building former US Forest Service complex in to a hub for creative enterprise. As Director of Campus Operations, his responsibilities include project management of extensive building renovations, oversight of the Artist in Residence Program, creative direction for numerous cultural events throughout the year, and development of a destination education program.
With my artwork I explore personal and communal stories through the lens of people, place, and the effect they have on each other. I am fascinated by the creation of culture, by our unique responses to our ecosystem, and by the outcomes that emerge from how an individual or a society choose to live.
As I hear constant discussion of how much humans are affecting the natural world, I am equally intrigued by the inverse question ; “What effect is the natural world having on me? What effect has it had on us collectively throughout history, and how does it effect us now?”
I know that the landscape I call home has both subconscious and observable impacts on me. Through my personal connection to the seasonal rhythms, quiet undisturbed places, and the garden that I intentionally cultivate I am grounded in a past, present, and future understanding of my own vision for ‘man’ acting as part of ‘nature’ rather than removed, separate or outside of it.
As an artist I hope to inspire and encourage a rising culture that feels a stronger connection to the landscape surrounding us and all that we have to learn from it, for the sake of the individual and the collective well-being.