Feet First

When I was growing up, I really hated being different.  Ethnic.  Whatever you want to call it.  The long last name that no one could pronounce.  A first generation American with a family from a country no one had ever heard of.  The funny thing is my dad actually added a letter H to our last name (making it even longer) so that people would be able to pronounce it.

Tash * Cough * Ski

Not so hard.  Of course the accent can be on either of the three syllables, and when I say it really fast people are like – what?

As I got older, I learned to appreciate my individuality.  It obviously helped that the world seemed to be heading in the same direction.  Actresses like Renee Zellweger, for example, were using their real names and we learned to accept that.  I loved signing my last name to my paintings.  It made me unique.  Special.  I may be the only Karen Tashkovski in the universe!  At least I am the only one who comes up in a Google search.  But if you search Karen Tashkovski – Artist, you’ll get a different result.

There is another artist with my last name.  Vasko Taskovski is a surrealist artist (think Salvador Dali) who creates these epic landscapes.  I’m particularly impressed with his series of horse paintings.  They morph into sand castles, mountains, trees, oceans and skies with the kind of attention to detail that is really breathtaking.


My work may appear less intricate in comparison, although there are several layers to it.  There’s the texture of the canvas, the drawing, oil painting, stenciling, and adding found objects.  The paintings are about my life.  My move to Florida was meant to be my escape, the way Dad escaped the Iron Curtain to come to America.  In theory, I would plant my feet on the ground of a new state and make a name for myself.


I do have an unusual footprint, I think.  One that my sister referred to recently as a deformity because everything about her is so terribly perfect in comparison.  I prefer to refer to my feet as unique and special.  Well, something has to be, since it is not my last name, right?

We all need that – to find what makes us special, and embrace it whether or not someone else thinks it is weird or stupid, or freakishly different.  At this stage of my life, I honestly don’t think anything embarrasses me.  I really don’t care what you think about my feet!  Everyone’s toes are kind of ugly anyhow.


I found the above illustration on the Internet.  It’s one of those pictures people always post on Facebook to get a conversation started.  I would say that my “roots” must be Greek, which is no surprise since Velushina, Macedonia is literally a hop, skip and a jump to the border to Greece.

My low toe is not depicted in any of those images but I did happen upon it somewhere else.


Archeologists found this 1.5 million year old human footprint fossil.


It is supposedly a man’s size 9 footprint and not a woman’s size 7 1/2.  But it looks like my foot, doesn’t it?  No, really.  It totally does!


Am I a time traveler?  Who’s special now?



2 thoughts on “Feet First”

  1. Karen … you may share a last name with at least one other artist in the world, but thank God, you, your artwork, your blog and your perspective on life all serve to make you one-of-a-kind, unique and special in the absolute best sense of the word. Thanks for this most enjoyable post and for all the lives you touch through your teaching, your artwork, your writing and through your positive and genuine approach to life!

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