Karen Hirshan is a native of Los Angeles. She became interested in art at a young age and attended classes at Brentwood Art Center. Her first class was life drawing taught by founder Ed Buttwinick. She remembers BAC when it was half the size and a liquor store occupied their corner space. In addition to BAC, she took classes during high school at Art Center College of Design, UCLA and Parsons School of Design. During one summer, she attended a program through Parsons in New York entitled, “Parsons in Paris”.
Karen attended the Philadelphia College of Art and became interested in photography and subsequently transferred to Brooks Institute where she graduated with a BFA in photography. After college, she became a fine art photographer selling her work in galleries across the United States and Europe. She worked in color, black and white and revitalized the turn-of-the-century orotone process. Her subjects were primarily still life and landscape.
Shortly after the birth of her second child, she decided to put her career aside to raise her daughters. During that time, she still remained involved in the art community as co-owner of Craig Krull Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. In addition, she became President of The Hirshan Family Foundation and began supporting cancer research after losing both her parents to the disease. During this difficult time, she found her way back to BAC and began taking drawing classes. Finding art to be positive therapy, she was re-inspired to take photographs and is now actively working as a fine art and commercial photographer.
Becoming a board member at BAC has been a treasured achievement she holds close to her heart as this is where it all began.