An acclaimed illustrator, book designer and cover artist of more than 40 books on American, European, Japanese and Bengali poetry and prose beginning in 1978, Karen Ann Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons has exhibited her artwork at myriad one-woman and two-woman shows across the globe, particularly in the United States and Tokyo, Japan. Since the early 1970s, she has been an art director, painter and illustrator through Katydid Productions in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While pursuing her artistic endeavors, Ms. Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons served as a teacher for four decades and was a counselor for the Michigan State Employment Commission in Detroit from 1969 to 1973.
Alongside her primary work, Ms. Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons served as an instructor at numerous institutions, such as the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit in 1986, Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford in England in 1985 and Oakland University in Michigan from 1984 to 1988. As a prolific illustrator, she has lent her expertise to numerous books, including “A Chagall and a Tree Leaf” and “In The Cemetery There Are Lovers,” both in 2008, and “The Wondrous Wee & the Finger of God” in 2010.
Learning how to paint and draw during her formative years, Ms. Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons’ talent was encouraged by her mother, who gave her an easel and chalkboard to foster her creativity. Further supported by her art teachers within the Detroit School System, she attended Oakland University and attained a Bachelor of Arts in 1967, where she majored in sociology and anthropology. Later on, she attained a Master of Arts in guidance and counseling at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1971. Although she spent much of her career in academia and counseling, painting was always at the forefront of her mind.
Ms. Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons’ talents have been shaped by her experiences in Japan, where she lived for a number of years with her husband while he taught in the Japanese school system. There, she fell in love with a Japanese style of ink painting called Sumi-e, which has been reflected in her work ever since. Her artwork also draws upon ancient Japanese artists, thus transforming her work into a style unique to her.
Alongside her late husband, the poet/writer/editor Thomas Fitzsimmons, Ms. Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons illustrated the book “Water Ground Stone” in 1993, an anthology of stories, poetry, essays and Japanese ink paintings she had created during her time spent in Japan. Likewise, she illustrated several Katydid books, such as “Demented Flute: Selected Poems, 1967-1986” by Sasaki Mikiro and “Stages and Views” by Penny Harter. She was the illustrator for several of Thomas’ own books of poetry, such as “In the Cemetery There are Lovers” and “Poetry—The Bride.”
Receiving great recognition for her artistic prowess, Ms. Hargreaves-Fitzsimmons was featured in a local newspaper in Pasatiempo, California, in 1995 and has been profiled in several Who’s Who publications. Looking toward the future, she intends to improve upon her already excellent talents.