Austin Art Talk Podcast Ep 26. THE PINK BOW PROJECT by Karen Hawkins


Hosted by Scott David Gordon 

Episode 26: Karen Hawkins - The Pink Bow Project

 April 29th, 2018  |   55 mins 21 secs

The Pink Bow Project by Karen Hawkins is an installation at Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, TX from April 13th to May 12th, 2018. Fifty two panels each with 1000 bows to approximately represent the substantiated cases of sexual abuse of females under the age of 18 each year in the US. Karen created the project to open up more conversations about sexual abuse, to help educate people, to create the opportunity for healing, and bear witness to those who are the victims of that abuse.

Good Day Austin: The Pink Bow Project by Karen Hawkins


Scattered on the floor of Austin artist Karen Hawkins' studio, are thousands of pink hair bows.  

These ubiquitous symbols of a girl's childhood and innocence have become the embodiment of Ms. Hawkins' artistic vision over the last few weeks.  

As awareness and willingness to see the extent of sexual abuse becomes a national discussion, Ms. Hawkins felt the time was right for this monumental art installation.  

Tribeza: Arts- The Pink Bow Project by Karen Hawkins


Karen Hawkins’ work has, in an oblique manner, often dealt with stories. Not in telling them, but

in hiding them within the folds and creases of her various repurposings of books. By Hawkins turning the pages into such shapes as totems, jelly rolls, and many iterations and developments upon
these forms, their printed meaning yields to a purely visual experience. With her latest work, Hawkins is flipping the script — she wants stories to be told, and hers is one of them.

“My name is Karen, I was 10 years old.” It’s not quite comparable to the volumes of description contained within her past work, and yet we already know everything we need to. Hawkins spares us the details, because she knows that her experience isn’t important on account of how it stands out — it’s important because it doesn’t. 

The Pink Bow Project by Karen Hawkins

Austin Artist Presents New Installation for National Child Abuse Prevention Month This April

For the past year, artist Karen Hawkins has excavated a dark aspect of humanity, reaching in to reclaim a measure of power over the memories left behind. The Pink Bow Project, which will be on view during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, opens with a Private Preview on April 12th at Gallery Shoal Creek in Austin, Texas.

A large-scale, multimedia work, The Pink Bow Project, is designed to envelop its audience. Upon entering the gallery, you are confronted by 52 sheer panels hung from the gallery ceiling like curtains. Massive in scale, each 9’ x 4’ panel holds 1000 pink hair bows, a ubiquitous symbol of a girl’s childhood innocence. 51,660 hair bows will be displayed, representing the number of substantiated sexual abuse cases against young girls reported annually to national Child Protection Services agencies.

As you make your way through the gallery space, maneuvering through the panels like navigating through a maze, an audio component pulls you deeper into the space. Unified through experience, a crowd of voices is heard. From the crowd, a voice comes forward, stating their name and their age at the time of their abuse, and then fades back into the crowd as another survivor’s voice comes to the forefront. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself, the first voice will be Hawkins’ brave statement, “My name is Karen. I was 10 years old.”

She invites fellow survivors to anonymously record their voices and be part of The Pink Bow Project through her website:

“The Pink Bow Project is my response to, and visceral engagement with, the seemingly ungraspable struggle of childhood sexual abuse. It is both an invitation, and an anthem meant to honor the quieted voices that have yet to fill our universal chorus with their sound.”

The installation opens to the public on April 13th, with the artist’s reception taking place on April 21st. It will remain open through May 15, 2018. Gallery Shoal Creek is located at 2832 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #3 in Austin, TX 78702 

Tribeza: Arts Issue by Karen Hawkins


These days, Karen Hawkins spends most of her time sitting in her studio surrounded by piles of discarded books. For ten years Hawkins, an Austin native, has used books, primarily old reference texts, to create elegant and existential three-dimensional works. They are intensely contemplative; however, for her, the content is inconsequential. “I know I’m totally weird, but when I’m sourcing my material the first thing I do is touch it, see how it feels in my fingers and determine the quality of the paper. Each iteration of these processes requires a different feel. For instance, with my totems, the paper quality has to be such that it’s going to be supple and be able to take a crease without cracking or breaking.” 

Find the full article below, pages 76-77.


by Tobin Levy
Photographs by Matt Conant

Small Wonders by Karen Hawkins

December 2015

Wishing a Happy Holiday and wonderful New Year to all.

Be sure to stop by Shoal Creek Gallery this holiday season to see Karen Hawkins's Tiny Book Forms and many other small treasures. Support local Austin artists and give the gift of art. 

Tiny Book Forms by Karen Hawkins | photo by Anna Cain 2015

Visit for more information.

Artists in the News by Karen Hawkins

October 2015

Drawn to the structure of books, Karen Hawkins asks, “How many ways can I objectify books?” in an engaging video about her work.

At the 5 DECADES opening, the Austin-based artist talked with Natalie and Paul Bardgjy about “Jelly Melts” (left) and “Once Upon a Time” (right).

These works, featuring whimsical clusters of rolled book pages, appeal both nostalgically and visually.

Click here to see more  

Luxe Magazine by Karen Hawkins

September 2015

Book Forms by Karen Hawkins | Photo by Wynn Myers 2015

"Artist Karen Hawkins’ love affair with books began in childhood, with weekly visits from the neighborhood bookmobile delivering summer entertainment. That she now destroys them is not the act of a jilted lover, but an ongoing devotion to keeping them relevant in today’s digital world." —Erin Marvin

 Click here to read more

Suspended Fiction by Karen Hawkins

January 2015

Suspended Fiction presented by Laura Rathe Fine Art features the conceptual works of installation artists, Tara Conley and Karen Hawkins. By incorporating script and literature in various media including bronze, metal and paper, this Texas contemporary artist duo creates pieces that explore the depth and meanings behind the echoes of society's voices.

Jelly Roll Installation by Karen Hawkins | photo by Anna Cain 2015

Aether: Books Rebound by Karen Hawkins

June 2014

Aether Issue 6: Summer 2014

Aether is a semi-annual e-magazine that aims to engage collectors, artists, and galleries in conversation about the visual arts in our community and beyond.

Read more about Karen Hawkins in article by Judith Taylor. 

Book Bricks by Karen Hawkins 2014