Commentary &Independent Animation 31 May 2011 06:47 am

Karen Aqua 1954-2011

- I woke up to a very sad email from Lisa Crafts, this morning. She sent the news that the brilliant and Independent animator, Karen Aqua, had passed away. Here’s Lisa’s note:

    I am sorry to write this in an email, but thought you would want to know.
    Karen died peacefully today after a 10 year battle with cancer.

    In her last month, Karen managed to finish her film Taxonomy, premiere it at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and was named a 2011 Fellow in Film & Video by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
    Her warm and ebullient spirit, dedication to animation, (and wild clothes) will be missed by all.
    with love,

And with that she attached a letter from Karen’s husband, Ken Field.

    It is with great great sadness that I must report that our dearest Karen died peacefully at Brigham & Women’s Hospital late this afternoon.

    She had extreme difficultly breathing Saturday morning at the Cape, and we came back a day early and brought her directly to the emergency room. She had a rapid decline since then, and was on a morphine drip and other pain medications when she died.

    She was so happy that we made it to the Cape for a few days, her final wish, and that she got to wiggle her toes in the water on the beach, among a long long list of other accomplishments since her initial cancer diagnosis in 2001.

    Karen will be cremated. She has asked that her ashes be distributed to a number of places that were meaningful and dear to us, including New Orleans, Hawaii, Roswell, Italy, and of course Cambridge.

    A memorial tribute will be held on Sunday, July 10 at 2pm at Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Avenue in Somerville, MA.

    With all best wishes, and with continued gratitude for your wishes and support, and with lots of love,

I don’t have much more to say. Karen was a bright spot shining out of Cambridge. I saw her infrequently, but somehow I felt close to her. Whenever we met up it was all smiles. At the very least, I felt close to her films. This is sad for me.

68 Responses to “Karen Aqua 1954-2011”

  1. on 31 May 2011 at 7:07 am 1.Jason said …

    A sad day.

  2. on 31 May 2011 at 8:05 am 2.Candy said …

    So so sad… Like Michael, I only saw Karen infrequently– mostly at animation festivals, but we were festival buddies. I met her first in Ottawa when we were both in our early 20′s and were introduced by June Foray at breakfast. We’d hang out together, often swimming in hotel pools when not watching films. We both received our first cancer diagnosis at the same time in 2002/3, and I found her support so invaluable. She was worried before about my reaction to “Twist of Fate” because of my own chemo experience– but, like the rest of the world, I found it amazingly wonderful. I really thought Karen was going to pull through– I hadn’t seen Karen for more than a year– so I am stunned by the news and am grief-stricken. My heart goes out to Ken and the rest of their family. May Karen rest in peace.

  3. on 31 May 2011 at 8:15 am 3.Tim Rauch said …

    I only met Karen a few times but she always had a warm smile to share. Her work is inspiring – personal, unique and strong. Best wishes to Ken and the rest of her family. She will be missed.

  4. on 31 May 2011 at 8:27 am 4.Mark Colan said …

    I was a fan of Karen Aqua’s work in the late 70s, even though I lived in Illinois then and had never heard of Somerville. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to meet her a few times at open studios, and bought a cell from my early favorite, “Vis a Vis”.

    Joan and I are deeply saddened to learn of her passing, and give our sincere condolences to Ken and other family members. Even though we don’t know you well, we feel your loss: it is our loss, too.

  5. on 31 May 2011 at 9:26 am 5.Tom said …

    Karen was one of my favourite filmmakers – I loved her use of music and image and always looked forward to seeing her next film. I’ll miss her.

  6. on 31 May 2011 at 9:33 am 6.Richard O'Connor said …

    Terribly, terribly sad.

    Her films were beautiful a true loss for us all.

  7. on 31 May 2011 at 10:22 am 7.Ron Newman said …

    I’m shocked — she was so young and lively. I will miss seeing her at Somerville’s many art and music events.

  8. on 31 May 2011 at 10:27 am 8.Janet Benn said …

    Karen was an inspiration to me. We met at Ottawa and each time I went to the Festival I would look for her flaming red hair and I knew there was a friend there. I marveled at the fact that she lived in my hometown of Somerville, that I worked so hard to get away from, while I was in NYC. She was part of the city’s renaissance and sometimes I envied her life in her studio while I was putting everything into working for other people. She was always encouraging me. When I saw her film “Twist of Fate”, about her experiences finding out about her cancer, I felt it, emotionally and viscerally. I think it is a great film. Not even Faith Hubley conveyed so many intense feelings about the illness and what it does to your total being. For years I have been showing her early films to my classes. They are such amazing marriages of music and color and animation. My heart goes out to her musician husband, Ken Field. Obviously they were great creative partners as well as well-matched in marriage.

  9. on 31 May 2011 at 10:28 am 9.Ray Kosarin said …

    A beautiful artist and a beautiful person. I too knew Karen mainly from the festival circuit (and seeing her when Ken’s band was in town). Karen – unlike many independent artists – didn’t exhaust her spirit in her (prolific) work but had plenty left over to live lovingly and well. In real life, as in her art, she exploded with color, and her films, always smart, never looked down on the audience. Karen, in her work and in the world, lived as though she had always just discovered a new dance she couldn’t wait to teach everyone.

  10. on 31 May 2011 at 10:29 am 10.willy hartland said …

    This is very sad news. I first met Karen at RISD in the early 80′s, when she spoke to our animation class. We all looked up to her because she was one of the first animators to graduate from the film department. As years went on, I always enjoyed seeing her at the ASIFA East fest or in Ottawa in the fall. She was a beautiful and talented person who made countless inventive films. I will never forget her!

  11. on 31 May 2011 at 11:13 am 11.Lorelei said …

    Karen was a beloved part of our community, an impressive powerhouse of a woman, contributing an essential part to our history and presence as independent animation filmmakers in the US. Karen was a funny, wry and lovely person, and someone whom I looked up to as a great example of what could be accomplished as an independently spirited artist.

  12. on 31 May 2011 at 11:53 am 12.Sky David said …

    I got to know Karen in the early 1980′s while teaching in Cambridge. She was so sweet and loving as a person. Her vision of personal animation and the immense work that she used to realize that combined with drive and innate talent leaves a legacy of films to be her mark in the history of animation.

  13. on 31 May 2011 at 11:58 am 13.Janet Perlman said …

    I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. Karen was a great inspiration for me. Always positive, always producing beautiful work. She spoke at my class many times and had a big influence on many of the students. Karen was a friend, so kind and earnest. She got me hooked on African dancing and we spent many years stomping around in the Cambridge dance scene. I will really miss her.

  14. on 31 May 2011 at 12:32 pm 14.Skip Battaglia said …

    Karen was fun. I am so sorry to hear of our loss. She was always an energetic spirit and felt true friend whenever we would meet, often by chance at festivals or animation events. We would speak of myth, anthropology, Afro pop, education, food. I’ll miss her laugh, her “thinking tall,” and all the future films she will never make.

  15. on 31 May 2011 at 1:39 pm 15.Brad said …

    Karen presented her work in my animation history course a couple of years ago and utterly charmed all of us with her artistry and her generosity of spirit. I am so sorry that she is gone, but so thankful to have met her.

  16. on 31 May 2011 at 1:41 pm 16.Joanna Priestley said …

    What an terrible loss for Ken, for all of us and for the planet. Karen was one of the truly great beings: extraordinarily talented and creative, the dearest friend and the kindest, sweetest most generous and thoughtful person. I miss her with all my heart.

  17. on 31 May 2011 at 1:45 pm 17.Steve Gentile said …

    I’m so sad to hear this news. Karen was so dedicated to animation, and was an advocate for everyone making independent work. She was also a dear supporter to my good friend, animator Max Coniglio, when he was struggling to finish a film while battling cancer. You are very, very missed, Karen.

  18. on 31 May 2011 at 1:48 pm 18.sara petty said …

    I’m devastated by this news. I had no idea Karen had cancer.
    She was such a delight, always funny, encouraging, energetic…always so youthful. It’s impossible for Karen to be gone. I’m so sorry, Ken.

  19. on 31 May 2011 at 2:01 pm 19.Chris Allen-Wickler said …

    My young daughters and I met Karen at the Kalamazoo Film Festival several years ago … she was so inspirational and encouraging to all of us. We signed up for her workshop and watched in wonder at her retrospective of films. I LOVED her clothing and didn’t know until now she was facing cancer. I am SO glad I bought her DVD then … she will always be remembered.

  20. on 31 May 2011 at 4:28 pm 20.Dave Levy said …

    She was such a kind and sweet presence at the festivals, where I would have the pleasure of catching up with her. Her talent speaks for itself, and she leaves behind an import body of work for us all. Its a wonderful thing when you can love both the person and their art.

  21. on 31 May 2011 at 5:44 pm 21.Ruth Lingford said …

    A great loss. Karen’s energy and generosity helped to make New England a great place to be an animator. We will all miss her.

  22. on 31 May 2011 at 5:54 pm 22.James Duesing said …

    So sad, I will remember Karen for her humor, persistence and in recent years her bravery. I loved that she didn’t want to make her last animation her “cancer” film. She will be remembered for so much more than that and greatly missed.

  23. on 31 May 2011 at 8:07 pm 23.Kathy Rose said …

    Terribly sorry to hear this. Karen was a great creative spirit and will definitely be missed -

  24. on 31 May 2011 at 8:16 pm 24.DEBRA SOLOMON said …

    I met Karen on my first trip to Annecy in 1995. She had a warmth and artistic spirit that moved me . I remember thinking this is a person I would like to get to know…but sadly I only met her once more. I am happy we have her brilliant films, her gift to us.


  25. on 31 May 2011 at 8:24 pm 25.Howard Beckerman said …

    Karen Aqua. A great spirit. Always a smile. And wonderful creativity.
    Through her ordeal she still made films. Her passing is a deep and penetrating loss, but she’s an inspiration to us all.

  26. on 31 May 2011 at 8:34 pm 26.Pilar newton said …

    So sad, I’ve known Karen from her speaking at RISD and regularly seeing and chatting with her at ottawa. Such a Lovely spirit. And such a talented wonderful filmmaker. Please, of anyone knows of memorial arrangements, please let us know. Thank you for sharing this news.

  27. on 31 May 2011 at 9:30 pm 27.Ruth Hayes said …

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Karen was one of the first independent animators I met when still a student back in the 70s and I was inspired by how focused an artist she was then, and have been consistently impressed by her playful, lovely and inventive works.

  28. on 31 May 2011 at 9:46 pm 28.John Schnall said …

    I’m staring at this white box and trying to figure out how to put into words what I’m feeling right now; Ken and Karen both represent to me everything that inspires me to follow that muse; the one that seems so far off after all these years of getting by and making small compromises. Karen, I miss you, Ken I feel for you; words fail.

  29. on 31 May 2011 at 11:28 pm 29.Deanna Morse said …

    I thought Karen was healed. I thought the cancer was in remission. The last time I saw her, last year in Ann Arbor, I thought she was OK – then I got caught up with my own loss. I am stunned, shocked, saddened.

    Karen and I met in the late 1970′s, when she made Penetralia, her first film. We were friends and supporters of each other, sisters in animation. That support continued – she was so generous. I have a recent email from her where she suggested artist colonies for me to experience.

    Karen encouraged me to do Sesame Street animations, a gift I will always value in my own animation career. Thank you, Karen.

    I remember asking Karen about life one time, one time before the cancers. Something like “What would you do differently if you knew you only had a few years to live?” She said, something like – “I don’t think I would do anything different – I have been doing it all along.” She loved Ken. She loved travel. She loved her extended family, her pets. She loved animating. She was a free spirit, an energetic, loving, colorful friend.

    I loved traveling in Japan with her and Ken. We talked all the way over on the flight when we should have been sleeping. I loved having her at my home. Seeing her at festivals, of course. Roomies. Friends. She was a great artist. Inventive, interesting, and willing to share.

    I don’t know what to say. I cannot get used to loss. It doesn’t feel real. I will miss my sister animator, Karen. I miss her already. I miss her now.

    Love to Ken and to other friends who are as shocked and stunned as me. Deanna

  30. on 01 Jun 2011 at 12:21 am 30.Amy Kravitz said …

    Karen, I hope you are experiencing a very beautiful animation right now – the most beautiful there is.
    I am grateful to have been at your last presentation. You sounded so strong and vital that I was surprised at how tiny you were when I hugged you. Seeing you discuss your work, dying yet startlingly brave and determined – my mind ricocheted over more than thirty years of knowing you trying to collect the images and sounds into a whole. I knew that I was watching your work reach a tapestry-like conclusion as if every frame of every film were a stitch – all laid out richly and complete. Thank you for each stitch and the joy and grace with which you made them.

  31. on 01 Jun 2011 at 2:18 am 31.Melissa Bouwman said …

    Deanna Morse introduced me to Karen the first time I went to the Ottawa Animation festival back in 1996. We became “festie-friends” and we would re-connect at the Ottawa Festival and the Kalamazoo Festival and exchange email over the years. Karen was one of the most “present” people I have ever known. Even though we would only cross paths at animation events, she would greet me with such warmth, and we would proceed to find some little corner out of the crowd to catch up.

    I am so glad we were both at the Ottawa festival in 2009. I was able to spend a lot of time with her there. I will always treasure the rousing conversations over dinners, drinks, and the picnics at Ottawa. She was SO much fun, and SO vibrant…and she was one of my heroes.

    Like many of us who have posted here, I was inspired by her work and by her dedication to living her life as an independent animation artist. Like the rest of us, I am stunned and so devastated to learn that she is no longer with us.

  32. on 01 Jun 2011 at 8:10 am 32.Janeann Dill said …

    Sending sweet thoughts and loving words for a beloved soul and beautiful artist.

  33. on 01 Jun 2011 at 9:31 am 33.Steven Hartley said …

    This is indeed a shame. Hope you’re not feeling depressed or anything.

  34. on 01 Jun 2011 at 10:09 am 34.Devon Damonte said …

    Thank you Karen for infusing our lives with your irrepressibly-joyous many-splendored motions, both in your incredible body of work which shines on so brightly, and in your zesty being, so sorely missed.

    We love you Ken!!

  35. on 01 Jun 2011 at 1:09 pm 35.Masako said …

    I didn’t know her well personally, but I always admired her work. I was very touched by her film we saw at this year’s judging night. So sad and sorry that she passed away.

  36. on 01 Jun 2011 at 1:26 pm 36.Ken Field said …

    I’m overwhelmed reading all of the wonderful, beautiful, moving notes you all have shared. My tears flow when I am reminded of so much love for Karen and for me. Thank you from my Penetralia, my innermost place. We were definitely three together, she, me, and we, and I’m struggling with the loss of two of them.

    We are hoping for a memorial event in the Boston area on the afternoon of Sunday July 10th, though this might change.

    And there is talk about a fall 2011 retrospective of her work at a major Boston institution.

    There will also be a gallery show of the drawings from Taxonomy at Brickbottom Gallery in Somerville, MA from approx June 30 – July 9.

    I will try to get to updating her website, and including that information when it is confirmed. Until then, please feel free to friend me on Facebook for updates, or email me at and I will add you to the update list.

    With all best wishes, and lots of love,

  37. on 01 Jun 2011 at 1:30 pm 37.Paul Glabicki said …

    Wonderful artist! I’m so glad we had a chance to meet. Inspiring life and work!

  38. on 01 Jun 2011 at 1:31 pm 38.Julie Levinson said …

    I’ve known Karen for over thirty years. I programmed her early work at BF/VF and the ICA and she has been visiting my classes to present her work for a couple of decades now. My students always loved her visits and her animation, as did I. I’ll miss her greatly but I’m glad she has left such a rich legacy of films and memories. My thoughts are with you, Ken.

  39. on 01 Jun 2011 at 5:19 pm 39.Christine Panushka said …

    What a shock. Ken, I am so sorry for your deep loss. Our animation community was enriched by Karen’s talent, generosity and great personality. I will greatly miss her. My heart is with you.

  40. on 02 Jun 2011 at 9:19 am 40.Steve Segal said …

    This is very sad news. I met Ken and Karen back in the 70′s. I always looked forward to seeing her films. Her work and spirit were both so beautiful. She will truly be missed.

  41. on 02 Jun 2011 at 2:22 pm 41.Reme Gold said …

    I have been a big fan of Karen’s films for many years.

    Like others who admire her work, her creative style, and her warmth, I had no idea she had cancer for the last ten years.

    I am deeply saddened by our loss of Karen on this earth.

    My thoughts are with Ken, Karen’s mother, and Karen’s close friends and family.

    Reme Gold

  42. on 02 Jun 2011 at 2:27 pm 42.Chris casady said …

    It’s been almost 20 years since I saw Karen but she was a big part of my happy experiences at Ottawa and Annecy animation festivals, I felt lucky to hang out with her, introduced by Sara Petty, and then I got to visit her and Ken in Boston that same year. She was so fun and bright, always. Her films were inspiring. I had the honor of being on the Jury with her in Ottawa 1992 which meant spending long days and 3 meals together for 8 straight days, real togetherness. Good times. I will remember her fondly.

  43. on 02 Jun 2011 at 2:38 pm 43.Jamie Maxfield said …

    I first met Karen Aqua in person in 1990 during an independent film show at the Brattle, and since then I’ve come to know her as a vibrant person full of spirit, vitality and love, through film festivals & open studio weekends in Somerville; one time I even had the pleasure of freelancing for her.
    On Saturday May 7, at the end of ICA Boston’s biennial animation show, I was lucky to have last heard Karen’s voice through the miracle of Skype, for Q&A following the world premiere of Taxonomy, her latest (and most likely final) film. I had only heard about her condition a week earlier, and at the same time I had so much faith that she would pull through and we would all have more time to spend with her.
    I’m very sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences to her husband Ken Field. I will miss Karen dearly.

  44. on 02 Jun 2011 at 9:08 pm 44.Gina Kamentsky said …

    Yesterday I picked up my well worn copy of “Frames” featuring pages and drawings by indy animators published in the 70s, including one by Karen.

    The artists in this book inspired me to study animation and provided a model of animators as singular artists.

    Living in Somerville and part of the community of artists and animators Karen was so generous with her time and support. She inspired me with her conviction to creating stuff and her vision. My heart goes out to Ken and Karens family. I will miss Karen as part of so many communities and as a friend.

  45. on 02 Jun 2011 at 9:27 pm 45.Pell Osborn said …

    I first met Karen at the old Off the Wall boho coffee shop/screening space in Central Square, Cambridge. On that rainy Thursday night, she and Ken and I may have been the entire audience at a rare 1979 (?) evening of “The Three Caballeros.” The show opened with a 16mm print of “Blue Bayou,” somehow with the original “Claire de Lune” Stokowski track. We laughed and applauded, oohed and aahed. The sparkle that was in Karen’s eyes that night was there every time we crossed paths in the subsequent three-plus decades, which weren’t nearly enough. Thank you, Karen, for teaching me to appreciate what I’m actually looking at, when I’m actually looking at it. And that it’s okay to enjoy the really hard work of animating. Bless you, great pioneer in animation education. How we will miss you. Your friend, Pell

  46. on 03 Jun 2011 at 7:46 am 46.Sean Mathiesen said …

    Karen was my teacher the first time I ever experimented with animation… Before I even knew what animation really meant. She saw something in me, before I knew it existed myself.

    Thank you Karen.

  47. on 03 Jun 2011 at 7:34 pm 47.Somerville Voices » Blog Archive » Artist Karen Aqua, 1954- 2011 said …

    [...] A  growing collection of tributes to Karen can be found on Michael Sporn Animation’s “splog” at [...]

  48. on 04 Jun 2011 at 5:57 pm 48.Dave & Barbara Aqua said …

    I am Karen’s cousin, Dave Aqua, part of the “Western Aqua’s.” We saw Karen at the Seattle Film Festival a few years back. Because of her, we connected with an entire side of our family that we hadn’t really known. She was so friendly, vivacious, smart – a “typical Aqua” as we say (LOL). My sister, Debbie, had the opportunity to go to Cambridge and spend time with her and Ken. Karen Aqua will truly be missed – a treasure to our family! J. David Aqua and Barbara Aqua, Tacoma, Washington

  49. on 04 Jun 2011 at 11:22 pm 49.Leah Ann Sullivan said …

    Karen, sending prayers and thoughts over this past few days upon hearing the sad news of you leaving us. A number of unfinished conversations have echoed in my mind as I’ve gone to the fabric store where I saw the sharp angles and darting movements of your drawings in so many prints, heard music on the escalator and the drum and the flutes at a Japanese street festival, remembered you dancing the Japanese Bon dances at Hiroshima, moving into the line of dancers and learning the movements as you went along. When Yvonne Anderson introduced us in 1981 or ’82, in our first conversation, you’d said, “Go to Ottawa. It will change your life.’ It certainly has. Recent nuclear accidents bring to mind your bravery and dedication to the anti-nuclear movement and anti-war stance, not by intellectualization, but having found a way to celebrate life through storytelling, animation, color and dance. With love to Ken and Karen’s family, Leah

  50. on 05 Jun 2011 at 9:49 am 50.Mary Lawton said …

    I am so sad today to learn of Karen’s passing. She was a dear, sweet person and highly motivated artist who inspired me all the years I lived in Boston in the 1980′s. Her energy and ability to focus on her art, write grants, go to retreats, show her films all over the world, and teach, was astonishing. A woman who truly lived the artists life.
    She helped me transition to my move from Boston to New York by introducing me to animators and studios, creating friendships that I still cherish today.
    Ken, you were so lucky to share so much of your life with her, your collaborations will live on forever!

  51. on 05 Jun 2011 at 10:54 am 51.Janet Scagnelli said …

    Oh, how sad! Karen touched my life over and over again through the years. A truly inspirational woman! I always felt she was in touch with true self, and I felt connected in a very real way to her, even in our sporadic meetings over the last 20+ years. It was like we could pick up right where we left off. I’ll miss her. I have stills of her animations in many rooms in my home, so she’ll continue to live in my heart and my children’s.

  52. on 05 Jun 2011 at 9:50 pm 52.Nancy Merrifield said …

    I was shocked to hear Karen had passed away and it brought tears to my eyes right away. Karen was a regular guest speaker at our school for Japanese students studying English in Boston. The last time she came (less than a year ago?), she and I had dinner together. She had alluded to an illness but I didn’t know how serious it was. I remember noticing how “present” she was during our dinner conversation. When I spoke she seemed to be listening so intently with her sparkling blue eyes. She asked me questions about myself and encouraged me to pursue my art. Now in retrospect I am even more deeply touched, knowing that while she was fighting a deadly disease she was able to be so selfless and loving!!! That evening after her presentation she invited students to come up and she layed out hundreds of pieces of paper with her pencil sketches on them and let students choose 2 or 3 to take home. They were delighted, and many students asked her to autograph them. Patiently and graciously she signed the drawings for about 75 students! I was impressed by how kind and generous she was. I think I still have one of her drawings–a dancing pig–in my room. I’m so sad that she is no longer here. She was an extraordinary soul who made an impression on everyone she met. I think she lived life to the fullest, and that is an inspiration to us all. My heart goes out to her husband and family. With much love, Nancy M. Boston MA

  53. on 07 Jun 2011 at 3:40 pm 53.Bob White said …

    Rose Petals
    and Tears
    in a
    Tea Cup.

    I will miss so much . . .

  54. on 07 Jun 2011 at 11:40 pm 54.Jacques Drouin said …

    Today, I went on Michael Sporn’s animation Splog never expecting to learn such a sad news…

    I last saw Karen when I attended a presentation of her work in Kalamazoo in 2007. It was a chance to be in the presence of an artist who could discuss her own work and her personal vision of animation. A precious moment for me with a distinctive film-maker who approached film as poetry. May her films inspire future animators.

  55. on 08 Jun 2011 at 10:26 am 55.Wendy Tilby said …

    Ken, I’m so sorry to hear this terrible news. I have such warm memories of you both, at festivals and in Cambridge. Karen was an inspiration and a delight – a consummate artist and a true pal. As others have said, it just seems impossible that she’s gone. She will be greatly missed by many.

  56. on 08 Jun 2011 at 2:37 pm 56.Marcy Page said …

    Ken, we are devastated to hear this news and are grieved at your personal loss. Such a bright, positive, energetic spirit …so lively and lovely …seemingly made to animate dancing forms. And such an inspirational model for the independent animation community. This is a tremendous loss but we are fortunate to have known her and that she left such an enduring body of work.

  57. on 08 Jun 2011 at 4:42 pm 57.Claire Porter said …

    Dear Ken:
    I was so so sorry to hear the sad news about Karen. Such a lovely bright brilliant loving woman. I am honored to have met her and to have had the chance to share dinners together. She will be missed by so many.

  58. on 08 Jun 2011 at 9:17 pm 58.Hélène Tanguay said …

    I have to say I kind of forgot Karen was sick. Every time I have seen her, she was the same, gentle with her wonderful smile and projects. I have known her for decades, have seen her from one festival to another. Karen was Karen, always generous, interested in others and so talented. Of course I knew she was sick, she lived life fully and made us forget she was fighting for her own life. I still can’t believe she won’t be in Ottawa this year. My thoughts are with her friends and family. She will be missed by all.

  59. on 10 Jun 2011 at 10:52 am 59.Kyle Bunk said …

    Karen Aqua actually visited our animation department at DCAD and told us alot about her work and her job experience. Her work was excellent, and we learned alot from her.

    She even gave out bits of her animation. Sadly due to moveout day it had gone missing.

    I wish I still had it.

  60. on 12 Jun 2011 at 12:18 pm 60.Joe said …

    I did not know my cousin very well. This is a wakeup call to get connected my surviving cousins as well and my Aunt Ruth.

  61. on 15 Jun 2011 at 5:06 pm 61.frank&caroline mouris said …

    we were devastated to hear the sad news of the loss of such a bright and
    brilliant animator, woman, friend. every time we saw her, she was warm
    and bubbly and sunny. we think of her as shimmering reflections sparkling
    on the charles river. karen was her films, and her films were karen: colorful
    and percolating and dancing and laughing and smiling. in short, unforgettable.

  62. on 16 Jun 2011 at 8:03 am 62.Debra Sea said …

    I met Karen at the 2010 Ann Arbor Film Festival–when she approached me and told me how much she loved my film, balance. She was full of encouragement and ideas about where my work should screen. She also gave me a copy of Twist of Fate. With her permission, I showed it to many classes of film studies undergraduates, introducing them to her exemplary work. This morning the DVD is sitting on my desk, ready to inspire a new group of people. I feel privileged to have met you, Karen, and am really sad that I will not get to reconnect with you at film festivals in the future.

  63. on 16 Jun 2011 at 2:26 pm 63.frank&caroline mouris said …

    furthermore, and more importantly,
    karen IS her films, and her films ARE karen.
    she and they will live on brightly in our memories.
    she gave herself completely to her art and her art lives on,
    and she in it.

  64. on 06 Jul 2011 at 3:46 pm 64.chris sullivan said …

    I was just about to e-mail Karen, and I just went on line to check her address, and all this came up.
    some how I always think that wonderful people will always be around, and she would come out of this.
    I told her that she seamed to be on the shore after a harrowing swim from a sunken ship. because through it all, she continued to radiate her kindness, warmth, and amazing curiosity for the world, and people she love, as well as those she just passed on earth for a day.
    an amazingly grateful person.
    thank you Karen for everything.

  65. on 01 Sep 2011 at 12:46 am 65.Kathy Jernigan said …

    Karen was a bright, effervescent presence in the RISD dorm in 1972, when I first met her. Not yet an animator, but so full of that lovely energy that poured out throughout her creative life. She had arrived at college with a wardrobe of charity hand-me-downs. Her home town had been flooded just before school began. Somehow, she turned all these trials into amusing stories, her cheerfulness a perfect antidote for our homesick moments.
    Though I lost touch with Karen over time, I followed her work, sharing her constantly renewed inspirations. Ah, what joy!
    Last night, I googled her name, as I do with old friends from time to time, and found this stream of sad praise. Aloha, Karen. Thank you for the gift of your life.

  66. on 20 Jan 2012 at 8:18 am 66.Vicente Pederzani said …

    Thank you for this blog post, it was just what I was searching for. There is so much information here, so I thank you so much for enlightening my mind.

  67. on 18 Aug 2014 at 3:59 am 67.Jeff Hughes said …


    My name is Jeff Hughes and I run a business centred on the repairing, building and general upkeep of boats. I am passionate about writing and I have often written for a number of industry websites and both online and offline journals.

    I am keen to contribute a post on your blog as I am trying to expand my portfolio as a writer.

    Here are a few ideas that I think fit well with your site and I would be happy to create:

    1) 8 small sailboats you can take anywhere

    2) Things you wish you would’ve known before you started sailing

    3) Ten best sailing events from around the world

    4) Suggestions on earning money while cruising

    5) You don’t have to be a millionaire to own a yacht

    6) Yachts owned by Hollywood stars

    7) Apps for the newbie navigator

    8) Best Hollywood movies centred on boats

    9) Some interesting sea-going superstitions

    10) Some great suggestions for the upkeep of your yacht

    11) Some sailing terminologies a yacht owner should know

    12) Ideas for environment-friendly sailing

    13) How to choose a boat that is right for you?

    14) Tips on boating with your pet

    I am also open to any ideas or suggestions that you might have, if you are looking for something specific.

    Lastly, I am willing to part with $30 for your efforts in publishing my article, as I think it would be a sound investment.
    I very much look forward to your response and am excited at the prospect of getting my work in front of your readers



  68. on 19 Oct 2014 at 7:43 am 68.Kathy said …

    A great loss, may she rest in peace.

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