the kjb

A bit about the artist known as the KJB and thearmed909, Karen Joanne Barnes

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me. My interest in the arts started to really develop when I left school in 1993. I enrolled at the local art school, South Kent College, Dover and flourished for the next three years. It was suggested to me then to specialise in photography but I opted for a place on a mixed-media degree in Art History and Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College in London. I successfully graduated in 1999 and have continued my work as an artist since.

I initially meandered through various paid jobs before finding my feet teaching English as a foreign language and it was whilst working abroad that I fully committed myself to developing professionally as an artist. On my return to England, I was fortunate enough to find a place on a post-graduate course at Brighton University which equipped me with the knowledge needed to become a self-employed artist and work freelance within the education system and different art groups.

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Eileen The Cameravan (ETC) became a vital part of my life and creative practice in 2005, the same year The Bimble Inn became a nomadic, solar-powered, tipi-esque venue. This is the innovation and collaboration of a group of friends, including myself. Although my presence has been less regular of late, my input has become more diverse and inclusive of my art as interactive installation.


I opted out of conformed living and converted ETC to forge a way of life that enabled me to be an independent artist, travel, teach and be creative. However, for the past few years, I have compromised my way of life in order to pursue the topics that most effect me, namely the observation and reflection of politics as personal and the general state of world affairs.


ETC became the meeting point of many experiences, told to me by others and that which were effecting me personally. I was bursting with creativity and my life became increasingly my art. However, 2008 brought with it new legislation, the LEZ, which penalises vehicles like ETC for driving around London and in the following year, I almost lost ETC in a road accident.

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I’ve been embroiled in *other projects throughout and now aim to re-instate ETC and continue our pinhole excursions. A lot has already been invested and achieved yet there is still a massive potential to be realised.

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* My art practice stems from a lack of time, space and money. I tend to use found items and routinely occupy random spaces to set up interactive installations. Performance has become more frequent and this can come in the form of public happenings, stage shows and film recordings. My path follows a deep sense of ethics and as much as I love life, I most often pursue darker topics like social injustice. As much as I observe the world externally, I reflect internally and this dual subject matter is inherent throughout my practice.


I am often found contributing towards various forms of political and social protest and demonstration as an independent artist. I am affiliated to no particular religious or political group and opt towards finding my own personal, creative response to the way of the world. Saying that, I am closely connected to the work of various friends and happily contribute creatively to causes to which I  stand side-by-side. These actions are in search of peace, love, respect, equality and honest education.


Astrology and other forms of esoteric and holistic teachings fascinate me and inform a lot of my perspective of the bigger picture and how we as individuals form the collective and common consciousness. I strive towards a peaceful anarchy and revolution as I believe too many of the given norms and structure of society are inherently ill-formed and mis-guided.

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It is my intention to become increasingly professional in my practice and strive for the very best, including gaining a Master’s degree in photography and moving image. I also want to further my development and focus on word and music, both great forms of expression.

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As a child, I was greatly affected by whooping cough and this has influenced me creatively throughout my life. Having spent years finding alternative means to communicate other than through language, I am now at a point of consolidating this up and down journey into words, music, film, photos, performances and more.

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I’ve been constantly questioning the structure of society and that which governs us. In the process I’ve opened many a can of worms, most notably this year by releasing a series of films of me bathing. It’s amazing what nudity has been led to signify and what is considered appropriate or not.

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I take an anti-capitalist stance, not because I hate money or exchange but because I have serious issues concerning the wealth, status and value culture. I do not agree to harming people or planet and see too many abuses of such through the greed of private profiteering. I’d happily be rich but it has to come with moral principles and through causing no damage and leaving no trace, unless of a beautiful or beneficial kind. I live to love to laugh a lot and strive for a world in which we can all flourish to our greatest potential and live in one with Mother Nature.

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thearmed909…TheKJB…Ms Karen Joanne Barnes


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