Inspired by nature. Influenced by minimalism.

Kim Knoll Art
Kim Knoll Art
Kim Knoll Art
Kim Knoll Art

About The Work

Being surrounded by the buzz of city life makes me seek out calm and stillness through painting. My work is an abstract interpretation of memories and moments from my time spent in nature exploring lakes, mountains, forests and coastlines through hiking and camping. Working with watercolors, ink, acrylic, and graphite, I paint from memory, thinking of specific sights or feelings to inform and guide each concept. Inspired by landscapes and influenced by minimalism, I seek to bring the outdoors in, in a beautiful, simple and unexpected way.

Kim Knoll Art

About Kim Knoll

Kim's style is heavily influenced by her background in graphic design, which has been her focus throughout her schooling and career. In 2011, she and her husband started Knoed, a branding studio that helps startups and small businesses invent or reinvent themselves through graphic design. It wasn't until 2016 when Kim picked up a paintbrush for the first time, but only to experiment with watercolor washes as background textures for a new brand. She fell in love with the medium and began exploring painting as a personal project. Soon after sharing her paintings on Instagram and Pinterest, her work sold out and continued to get noticed by homeowners, interior designers and art consultants. After seeing a demand for her art, she learned how to make prints and began selling both originals and prints online. Today, Kim partners with over 20 art consulting firms and interior design studios to produce commissioned paintings and prints for homes, hotels, resorts, retail stores, cruise lines, products and more. Her most notable work can be found in The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Yacht Collection, Four Seasons Hotels, Waldorf Astoria Hotels, Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas, 7 For All Mankind (Milan and Berlin), Celebrity Edge Cruise Ship, Norwegian Prima and Sky Cruise Ships, and The Spells Deck produced by Chronicle Books.

Kim Knoll in the process of painting art
Kim Knoll in the process of painting art

2003, BFA in Visual Communications, Northern Illinois University

Select Commissions
2021, Norwegian Cruise Line, Prima Cruise Ship
2021, Bank of America Tower, 110 N Wacker
2020, The Ritz-Carlton, Yacht Collection
2019, 7 For All Mankind, Milan Flagship Store
2018, Chronicle Books, The Spells Deck

Select Features
• The Ritz-Carlton Evrima Yacht
• The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, FL
• Four Seasons Jackson Hole, WY
• Four Seasons Vail, CO
• Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas, NV
• Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Kuwait
• Bank of America Tower, Chicago
• Norwegian Prima Cruise Ship
• Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship
• Celebrity Edge Cruise Ship
• 7 for all Mankind Milan Flagship Store, Italy
• 7 for all Mankind Berlin Store, Germany
• Capitol Tower, Singapore
• Chateau Elan Winery + Resort, GA
• Addison Reserve Country Club, FL
• Sino-Ocean Hangzhou Kempinkski Hotel, China
• Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland, OR
• Westin Kierland Suites Scottsdale, AZ
• Whitley Hotel Suites Atlanta, GA
• Hyatt Regency Stonebriar, TX
• Hyatt Regency Deerfield, IL

Select Art Consultants
• Camouflage
• Capsule Arts
• DAC Art Consulting
• Eaton Fine Art
• Faulkner+Locke
• Indiewalls
• Kalisher
• Kevin Barry Fine Art
• Lewis Art Consulting
• Local Language
• Onderneming & Kunst
• Prime 8 Art League
• Soho Myriad Art Consulting
• UAP Company
• Union Art + Design

Kim Knoll Art


Where did you grow up and where are you now?

I was born and raised in Elk Grove Village, a suburb about 30 minutes from Chicago. I've always been in the arts, but chose to make graphic design my career when my high school art teacher told me that's the only way I could make a living as an artist (so not true!). I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in Visual Communications, packed up my car and moved to Tempe, AZ for a fun few years. In 2006 I made my way back to Chicago and have been living in the city since with my husband, Kyle, and my dog, June. I live in the Wicker Park neighborhood and my studio is in the West Loop. I dream of one day living somewhere that's warm year-round where I can stand up paddleboard, live in sandals, and plant a mango or avocado tree in my backyard.

What originally drew you to making paintings?

I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in August 2016. It's crazy to think that one small act has had such a big impact on my life. At the time, I was working on a new branding project for an apothecary. I wanted to use watercolor washes as a background texture in their visual identity so I bought the supplies and dove in. I loved watching the paint react to water and the effect it gave once it dried. I liked that it has a mind of its own and is hard to control. Painting allowed me to let go of needing things to be perfect and just follow its lead, which I found to be freeing and therapeutic. So I bought more supplies and kept exploring until I discovered techniques and an aesthetic that I liked which is how I eventually developed my own style.

Can you describe your creative process?

I start out knowing what the color palette is and then I think about the feeling I want the painting to have. That feeling will tie into a memory of mine that I'll use for inspiration. I'll think about what I saw, how I felt and what happened in that moment. I distill those thoughts and feelings down into shapes, marks and textures. I start a painting with an idea of what it’s going to be, but it almost always leads me down a path I don’t see coming. I react to the painting as I go, making the next layer based on the composition and color of the previous layer. If I get stuck, I usually take a picture of it and sketch ideas using Procreate to know what to do next. Or I’ll set it aside and think about it for a couple days. I know a painting is done when it just feels right and I wouldn’t add another thing to it.

What is the best advice you could give a novice artist?

It’s ok to not know everything you think you should know. I struggled with that in the beginning, so maybe you are too. Not that long ago I saw the quote “Every expert was once a beginner.” and it really struck a chord with me. If you stop and think about it, we all start out somewhere. The beginning is all about guessing, making mistakes and failing. It’s what you have to do in order to learn and develop. I learned what I know the hard way because I didn’t take a single class on painting in art school and I don’t have anyone to guide me through it. So I learned what I know about painting through trial and error, Google searches and YouTube videos, and I’m still learning every day. We're all just figuring it out as we go. And that's ok!

What is your go-to for inspiration?

The obvious sources of inspiration are Instagram and Pinterest. I follow artists who inspire me and enjoy seeing how their work evolves. My biggest source of inspiration is nature and the different landscapes I've seen while hiking and camping. I'll look at photos from past trips and study the details of the mountains, clouds, water or rocks. I also pull inspiration from my daily surroundings in the city, usually when I'm on a walk outside. There might be spray paint on a mailbox that creates an interesting texture or someone's landscaping uses rocks in an interesting composition. I constantly take pictures of textures and colors that inspire me and save them to an album on my phone.

Why do you work on paper and not canvas?

When I first started out, all I had was watercolor paper and I didn't know how to work with canvas (stretch it, prime it, size it). Plus a lot more space is needed for storing canvases and more materials and tools are needed for stretching canvas, which I didn't have the space or budget for. So paper is what I went with. But after trying out canvas later on, I learned that paper is much better suited for my techniques and for scanning the art to make prints. I still love that paper takes up less space and it's much easier to ship too. There's an art to stretching paper and hand tearing the edges that I enjoy as well. I will probably do a few paintings on canvas at some point but paper will always be my first love.