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Karen O'Leary loves creating tangible memories of notable places

People of Charlotte, please meet Karen O'Leary, architect and paper cutting map artist. Karen has been meticulously creating works of art that map out your sentimental places in her workspace, Studio KMO.

Now let's get to know Karen's story!

How would you describe your artwork?

I create pieces of artwork simply by hand, using just an x-acto blade to carve and cut city maps into beautifully delicate modern pieces of artwork.

When did you create your first map?

My very first piece was created in architecture school at Virginia Tech, part of my thesis project in 2003. Since then, I have grown the idea and concept into a small business.

Do you create maps of specific locations?

Any city or location is possible!

Your work has caught the attention of media outlets. Where might we have seen your creations?

My work has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Charlotte Today, QC Exclusive, and in many hotels and businesses across the country.

How should people get in touch with you to purchase your stunning work?

My artwork can be purchased directly at And please follow me on Instagram!


People of Charlotte publishes stories about everyday Charlotteans, Carolinians, and beyond. We celebrate YOUR story because YOU matter. It is our mission to promote inclusiveness, unity, understanding, community, diversity, empathy, inspiration, and compassion.

Stories have power—they teach, inspire, motivate, and challenge us.

Stories help us to not only see others but to see ourselves more clearly, as we connect with the life stories of those in our community; a community that is strengthened by the power that is unleashed by the collective energy of individual stories.

Interested in sharing your story with People of Charlotte? Email to learn more!

The views expressed here are solely those of the individual featured and do not in any way represent the views of People of Charlotte, CLT. Information on this site may contain errors or inaccuracies; we do not make warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site’s content. If you own rights to any of the images and do not wish them to appear on this site, please contact us via e-mail and they will be promptly removed.



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