Bold Shapes + Bright Colors Dominate This Chicago Artist’s Work


Artist Katie Powell Brickman signing one of her paintings featuring multicolored circles

Photo: Kristen Miccoli

Lake Forest, Illinois artist Katie Powell Brickman paints and prints happiness. Her canvas artworks and recent line of wallpapers feature bold shapes in bright colors. With their Dr. Seuss-like, soft-sided forms that resemble trees or flora under the sea, “They invite viewers into an imaginative world reminiscent of childhood dreams,” Brickman says. Serena & Lily offers her paintings online and in select stores, interior designer Alessandra Branca (an early supporter of Powell Brickman) carries her pieces and prints at Casa Branca, and her work can also be found locally at Arch. Here, the artist explains why her artwork suits chic interiors while being the antithesis of cool.

Katie Powell Brickman's art studio featuring her works against sage green walls

Photo: Joel Lerner

Artwork featuring concentric circles in shades of blue, green and yellow.

Photo: Joel Lerner

Hallway with blue-and-green abstract artworks flanking a window with patterned curtains

Photo: Kelli Boyd

Sample of wallpaper with lines of small blue circles against a cream-colored background

Photo: Courtesy Katie Powell Brickman

Describe your style. I gravitate toward the simple, bold and clean, inspired by the work of artists Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin. My paintings often feature layers, textures and whimsical forms. I love saturated color and naive shapes and styles—stripes, circles, squares and everyday materials that, when arranged thoughtfully, become extraordinary. It’s kind of anti-cool.

Your work is very cheery and youthful. How does it jibe with today’s interiors? My art is a little bit fantastical. Despite their childlike feel, I believe that art doesn’t have to be sophisticated to be beautiful or deserving of a spot above the mantel.

How did you go from painting to releasing a line of wallpaper? I was inspired by a client who wanted one of my paintings to cover an entire room. I mixed stripes, florals and checks to create a playful modern aesthetic. The collection is versatile, suitable for both grown-up rooms and children’s areas. It reflects this anti-cool aesthetic, adding a vibrancy and playfulness to any space.