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Karen Spiro founded Primarily Portraits in 1990, in Philadelphia, after spending several years promoting artists’ work to galleries in Philadelphia and New York. With the knowledge that portraits had always been a way for artists to support their other work, Spiro decided to help out.


Armed with degrees in Art History—from New York University—and Ceramics—from Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts), Karen created marketing plans to help artists get in front of curators in key art markets. For instance, she produced artist Bo Bartlett’s 1988 independent show “Sublimism” in Philadelphia which led him to a long-term relationship with PPOW Gallery in New York.

Karen is an artist as well. Her art is turning lonely chairs into works of art that feature portraits from the world of art. Check out ARTisanal Chairs.


After over 30 years and more than 150 portraits, Primarily Portraits continues to bring portrait artists and clients together in a congenial atmosphere. Now based in California, Karen is positioned to take on accounts throughout the United States.

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