Meet Our Dedicated Team
Although GYST is an artist project by Karen Atkinson, she also works with a dedicated team of other artists to make this sh*t happen. All of us are working artists with an active professional artist life, and we are committed to making life better for all artists.
President and Founder
Karen runs this project as her current art practice, think of it as beyond social media and relational aesthetics. The goal of this project is to make life better for artists.
Karen Atkinson is a media, installation, public artist, independent curator, and collaborator. Atkinson has published and guest edited a number of publications. Exhibiting and curating internationally, Atkinson's work has been shown in South Africa, Australia, Europe, Mexico, Canada, throughout the USA, and in the Fifth Havana Biennial in Cuba and the 2011 Biennale de Paris. She has a Ted Talk on hybrid careers for artists:
In 1991, she was a co-founding director of Side Street Projects, a non-profit artist-run organization in Los Angeles, which continues to thrive now in Pasadena. Atkinson has held a faculty position at CalArts since 1988, teaching Foundation Seminar, Context Revolt (addressing installation, public and net art), and her renowned Getting Your Sh*t Together class. She has taught workshops for over 20 years, both regionally and nationally, for organizations like the California and Boston Lawyers for the Arts, Side Street Projects, The National Association of Arts Organizations, and dozens of additional artist-run spaces and non-profits.
Karen created the GYST software for artists from scratch and in 2000 she founded GYST as an artist-run professional practices service company. Currently, Atkinson chooses to focus on making life better for artists and less on exhibiting her own work.
In her spare time she serves on Boards and Advisory Boards of local and national arts organizations, advises artists on their careers, and tries to get into as much art trouble as possible. To view some of Karen’s projects visit karenatkinsonstudio.org
Christopher directs GYST's overall marketing. He co-teaches GYST’s workshops and is also co-editor of GYST Publications and newsletter. Please direct all marketing, inquiries to him.
Christopher Reynolds is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He received his BA in Fine Art at the University of Southern California and his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. Reynolds’ current body of work examines our relationship to food. More importantly, he investigates the relationship to ourselves and each other with food as the catalyst. Reynolds’ work includes viewer-activated sculptures, installations, performances, and documentation to understand who we are through what we eat and how we eat it. By presenting the work with both socially-engaged performances and installations along with inflicted visceral responses of hunger, satiation, pleasure,and pain, Reynolds wants the viewer to challenge their perception of food as merely a means of sustenance. Instead, He desires his participating audience to understand the significance and socially-constructed power of food that molds our cultural, political, and economic positions in this world. You can view Christopher Reynolds' work at christopherreynoldsstudio.com
Megan Flanders graduated with her BFA in Studio Art from CSU San Bernardino in 2012; since getting her sh*t together, her work has focused on the complexity of the Feminist struggle and the idea of digital identity--often blurring the lines between the two-- while reexamining women’s representation in the contemporary art world.
She is a proud member of the AAM and ARCS, and has worked professionally as a preparator and independent curator for nearly a decade. Along with various museum and gallery jobs, Megan also served for three years as the director-at-large of The Walking Gallery (2009-2012, Pomona, CA) and co-founded the contemporary Feminist printmaking group [PAPERSLUTS] in 2013. Her work can be found at MeganFlanders.com
DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH
Hannah is a visual artist living and working in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in 2015 from California Institute of the Arts and has a BFA from Oslo National Academy of Art, Norway. She is occupied with site-specific sculpture and immersive installation, and often collaborates with non-human agents and phenomena.
Kara Walker Tomé
GYST Radio Host
Kara Walker Tomé is a contemporary art specialist, independent curator, event producer, arts administrator, writer and consultant.
Kara returned to her hometown of Los Angeles in 2012 after a decade living in South Florida where she became renowned for creating and producing alternative exhibitions and art events through her company Art-Site Projects. She also curated many exhibitions featuring regional, emerging contemporary artists at non-profit galleries and alternative spaces in and around West Palm Beach. Kara held the positions of Education Director at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art from 2000-2004 and Director of Program Development at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach from 2004-2006. She was also a contributing writer to The Art Economist, a monthly magazine examining the economics of contemporary art, wherein she selected and wrote profiles on “Artists to Watch.”
Previous to moving to South Florida, after graduating from CalArts with an MFA, she worked in non-profit arts and education organizations in Los Angeles, including Inner-City Arts, Armory Center for the Arts and the Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park.
She is currently getting Art-Site Projects up and running in Los Angeles.
Beyond our hardworking GYST team, we also have an amazing growing group of artists that are apart of our GYST associate program. These artists are here to help us help you. Check out more about these great arts professionals as well as the GYST Associate Program.