Artist's Statement: 

For as long as I can remember, the human mind's emotional and mental constitution has fascinated me. I am curious about identity, the subconscious, and the working of our intuition. The world we live in gravitates toward the superficial. It fears introspection and authenticity. Through my art, I hope to show that we can find some of our richest life experiences through personal reflection & questioning the unknown.

My art consists of small abstract and surreal pen illustrations. I choose to work only with black ink because of its clarity and simplicity. The absence of color allows the viewer to focus on the subject matter without distraction. I keep my illustrations small, with delicate linework & stipple shading. The smaller scale encourages a more intimate interaction with the art since it has to be experienced close up. Similarly, our inner world does not shout at us from across the room, but whispers in a barely detectable voice. Viewers connect with the content and symbolism in unique ways to help uncover and explore their innermost reactions and beliefs. No two people will experience my art in the same way.

When I generate ideas, I withhold all critique and judgment to create the art in a stream-of-consciousness manner. The juxtaposing of unrelated elements helps the viewer connect with their internal world in a playful, non-threatening way. Some recurring themes in my body of work include personal identity, transformation, human potential, spirituality, and mental health.

My approach to illustration is deeply rooted in my love of Surrealism. Breton wrote the following in his 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism: "The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be - the greater its emotional power and poetic reality."

I hope my art will challenge our culture's fear of individuality, introspection, and mental health. Our subconscious and inner worlds are not something to be feared. It is fascinating, profound, and full of the potential to transform.

Karien Bredenkamp



Karien Bredenkamp was born and raised in the multicultural country of South Africa. Her family moved to the United States in 2015, and they have been living in Omaha, Nebraska ever since. 

In 2019 she started creating small, black and white surreal pen illustrations using a pointillism technique. Her online store launched in 2021, and she has participated in various gallery exhibitions and juried art fairs since. Her poetry originated as an ekphrastic response to these illustrations ‒ a way of delving even deeper into her subconscious. She published her first book, Enigma (a collection of 56 poems and illustrations), in 2024. Some recurring themes in her art & writing include personal identity, transformation, authenticity, and intimate love.

Event Page

Publication/Exhibition History


2024 - Enigma, A debut collection of 56 poems & illustrations.

Solo Exhibitions

2021 - inside | insight, The Mansion, Blackstone District.
2021 - Untitled, Scriptown Brewery, Omaha.
2021 - inside | insight, Benson Art Gallery, Benson.
2021 - The Mane Attraction, Red Lion Lounge, Omaha.
2021 - Seen, Aksarben Creative, Omaha.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 ABYSS, Split Gallery, Omaha.
BOLD, Split Gallery, Omaha.
2022 Drawn In, The Gallery at Coram Deo, Omaha.
- WALL, Benson Art Gallery, Benson.
2021 - Citylight Art Exhibition & Benefit, Citylight Arts Project, Benson.

Juried Art Festivals

2023 - Peoria Fine Arts Festival, Peoria, IL
- Rockbrook Art Festival, Omaha.
- Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Omaha.
- Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Omaha.
- Rockbrook Art Festival, Omaha.


2023 - Merit Award, Omaha Summer Arts Festival

Contact me

What do you see?

I am a collector of interpretations - if you have a unique explanation of what any of my illustrations mean to you, please submit it here:

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