I did a post on the fabulous Kim Parker not too long ago and since I adore her art work and home decor so much, I try to keep up with her and all her new products. I wanted to share the most recent exciting news- Kim’s new book, Kim Parker Home, will be hitting the shelves in May!
I know what you are thinking- that’s too long to wait to see the gorgeous photos of some of her newest products- but the good news is that Amazon is taking pre-orders for the book now- click here to reserve your copy today: Kim Parker Home (and get an extra 5% off!)
I had a chance to sit down and chat with Kim- someone whose work I have admired for a long time now- it was truly a joy to hear her life story and get to know the woman behind all those beautiful paintings. Her story is such an interesting one and I know you will be captivated by Kim also and how her creativity, hard work, and persistance is what made her into such an internationally well known and successful artist today.
Tell us a little bit about your background growing up. Were you always so creative and interested in art? When did you know painting was your calling?
KP: Ever since I was very little it was easy for me to spend hours immersed in drawing. I loved to draw flowers and butterflies and birds in vivid colors.
My parents were both gifted classical musicians as well as artists. By the time I was eight years old I joined the family quartet with the flute, and for many years, pursued a serious early career as a classical flutist. I spent memorable summers playing in an orchestra in residence at Tanglewood, and graduated from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a degree in Flute Performance. My musical life was extremely rich. However, during the years I pursued a career in music, I always kept a small box of gouache paints and brushes with me wherever I went, filling books with literally hundreds of small floral and geometric patterns.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I realized painting was perhaps my true calling. A family friend who had seen the book of textiles I had created over the years, pointed me in the direction of the fashion industry where she felt I should try and sell my designs. I had no idea there was such an industry. I never imagined I could make a living doing what I loved so much. The very first job I held was working with a freelance design studio that sold my textile designs to various fashion companies. In the years that followed, I held numerous full time positions painting in studios throughout the fashion industry.
All of your art is so vibrant, energetic, and leans more towards the feminine side. Have you ever painted in a different style or have the bright colored flowers and bold geometric patterns always been your signature style?
KP: Painting flowers and bold geometrics in rich color has always been a source of healing for me. I have never been drawn to quiet, minimalist palettes. They kind of put me to sleep. I understand why people opt for them in their homes, but they don’t excite me. Succulent color makes me feel alive and it fills me with good energy.
I grew up looking at art books with my mother, and was drawn to painters like Matisse, Bonnard, Vuillard, Nolde. Their rich color palettes and ability to combine pattern really inspired me. In my teens I used to hide away in my bedroom for hours (instead of doing homework) and paint dozens of bookmarks on white cardboard strips in very dense patterns at my desk. Most of these designs were floral, with a few geometrics and stripes sprinkled in. This has become a major part of my design aesthetic –to layer patterns in rich hues.
I do however also paint non-objective works on canvas, which I call “Color Essays”. I enjoy working in abstraction, and sometimes feel a need to move away from “form”, from representation. A few of these paintings are featured in my new design book. It’s a space where I am face to face with my love for color and color only.
What made you decide to go into designing home decor for Kim Parker Home?
KP: During the years I sold my original hand painted textile designs to the fashion industry on my own, selling them to the top design houses such as DVF, Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Jill Stuart, Calvin Klein etc. I also sold my work to Garnet Hill and Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and Crate and Barrel.
After a few years of seeing the success these interior design companies were having with my prints, I started thinking about the home interior design world. I remember Jill Stuart once telling me in a print appointment, “Kim, you really belong in the D&D Building.” I realized soon after there were so many applications for my textiles in the interior design world. It just felt like a natural direction for me to move in.
I have a few of your prints in my home that I purchased at World Market. Where are some other places that our readers can purchase your art and other products?
KP: Dinnerware and Giftware collections (Kim Parker Home for Spode) are sold at such retailers as Macys, Belk, and online at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Amazon.com
Designer rugs are sold at The Rug Company whose two US stores are in Soho, New York, and Los Angeles, and throughout Europe. Their website is: http://www.therugcompany.info/
Fine Art painting reproductions are sold at World Market, Target, Art.com and Amazon.com
Decorative pillows are sold through our website, http://www.kimparker.tv/
Children’s book, “Counting in the Garden”, and plush toys, backpacks and puppets are at Barnes and Noble, and BN.com
Stationery collections are carried at Anthropologie as well as BN.com and Galison.com
++Visit http://www.kimparker.tv/ for all links to retailers
All of your vases, dinnerware, rugs, bedding, and pillows are all so lovely. We can’t wait to see what’s up your sleeve next! What might we see in the future of Kim Parker Home?
KP: My first book on Art & Design is coming out (Harry N Abrams) this Spring 08, which I am really excited about. We have the Kim Parker Home brand that focuses on my home interior products, and the Kim Parker Kids label, which is represented by Scholastic Media. Both brands are growing strong, and it’s really exciting. Spode is launching my third collection of tableware called “Buttercup Faire.” There will be an art calendar, art cards, paintings, and a stationery and gift wrap program for my children’s label, Kim Parker Kids launching this Spring as well. I am currently researching companies for fabrics and wallpapers as well as fashion accessories.
I am literally counting down until your exciting new design book, Kim Parker Home: A Life in Design, comes out on the shelves May ’08. We hear that it is part memoir and part design book. What inspired you to write your first home decor book (after publishing a children’s book) and what will be featured in your new book?
KP: I actually spend as much time writing as I do painting. It has been a passion of mine since I was young. I have been an avid journal keeper my whole life. I didn’t want my first book on design to simply be another “How to Decorate” book. I felt that my journey in design, which was extremely challenging and unique was worth sharing. I knew I had more to offer readers
than to tell them how to hang a curtain. I really think it’s inspiring to read about someone’s creative process and the difficult path that led to their success. I read a lot of biographies, and am always moved and fascinated by the hardships and triumphs that artists endured in pursuit of their dreams. This is what inspired me to tell my story.
It took two years to write and assemble the book. I had a wonderful time running around Manhattan with my digital camera snapping pictures of urban gardens, flower markets and flea market inspirations and then coming home to the computer to write the text. Many publishers wanted to publish my book as a “How to Decorate” book, featuring my collections photographed amid interiors- the way they had done for many of my designer colleagues in the industry. I held out though until the right publisher appeared who understood my vision for the book. After some time, I met up with a wonderful editor at Harry N. Abrams who said, “Kim, I love your work. I have been waiting for a book like this to come along. Your story and your work will inspire other women to follow their dreams.”
The book features my collections of home furnishings which include my designer rugs, dinnerware and giftware, decorative pillows, fabrics and bedding, photographed in rich interiors, as well as my paintings, original textiles, and the creative inspirations I find living in New York City. Kim’s third collection of tableware for Spode- Buttercup Faire- it alludes to one of Kim’s favorite flowers
I love this photograph. It’s featured in her new design book and depicts her Manhattan Rug from The Rug Company