Mairin Kareli has opened Kareli Kairos on Arlington Avenue.

Mairin Kareli

Photo By Kat Kerlin

Local artist Mairin Kareli just opened Kareli Kairos inside the Yogic Lounge downtown. Her store features her original creations and is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. Her website shows you what to expect at

Where and when are you opening your Kareli Kairos?

The grand opening is Feb. 5, Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. and going until the dancing stops. Local DJ Coop Da Loop is providing music, so it should be fun. And the location is 100 N. Arlington Ave., Suite 101, but I’m actually inside the Yogic Lounge, right across the hall from [the original] Se7en Tea House.

How would you describe what you’re selling?

I’m primarily a painter, so I have paintings. I also have a line of products featuring my original art. So I have paintings, high quality art prints, more affordable paper prints, and buttons, mirrors and magnets. I have shopping bags and tote bags. I have women’s T-shirts, prayer flags, greeting cards, and I think that’s it. It’s important to me that if someone likes an image from my work they can have it, they can afford it and take it home with them. If they like the work, I want it to be a part of their life, so I want to make as many products as I can at a range of prices. Magnets are $3.50 and original paintings go up to around $1,700.

Do you make everything yourself?

It’s all my design. It depends on the item. I don’t actually hand-sew the shirts myself. But a lot I do make myself. Like the buttons, mirrors and magnets, I have a machine and I do that myself. And the bags, I do the sewing myself. Pretty much everything in my store, I had a major hand in its creation, and it’s all my design.

Your work features a lot of whimsical, fantasy elements like mermaids and hummingbirds and is very female- and nature-centric. Why do these sorts of images appeal most to you?

That’s a good question. It’s what I see. I see the painting in my head, or at least a part it, before I start, and that’s what I see. But when I was a kid, I had a book The Twelve Dancing Princesses illustrated by K.Y. Craft. I remember looking at that book as a kid and thinking, ‘I want to make visible the magic.’ When you look at an image of the fantasy world, it’s made more real by something you can see. So I think I’m drawn to that.

How’s the transition going from a virtual space to a physical one?

I have already opened—I had my soft opening—but the other thing I’m doing in the space is I’m actually painting there. And the biggest change I’ve seen is I’m getting a lot more done. I moved my home studio there … so being away from my house and all the distractions there has been so productive for me. And I like that people can come down and watch me paint, which I think is interesting for myself and other people.

Tell me more about your background.

I graduated with an arts degree with a BFA in art from UNR in 2003, and then I worked in retail at the Melting Pot World Emporium, where I still work. I would not have been able to start this business without working for them.

I’ve interviewed you there before for a story about Burning Man costumes. Has Burning Man influenced your work?

I started going to Burning Man in 1999. I’ve been to eight of them. I think going there and just seeing what you can accomplish—the things people bring are so ridiculous and on such a grand scale, and it made me see there that it’s possible. Everyone tells you it’s hard to make a living as an artist, that it’s too difficult. Burning Man gave me the confidence to take that leap.