Kristi Kohut spent her 20s in advertising before getting back to her roots, paintbrush in hand, after her son was born in 2007. “I’ve always connected to the world of color and art,” she says. Before long, her amateur studio was filled wall-to-wall with canvases—and she knew it was time to share her craft with the world. She launched Hapi Art seven years ago on the idea that bold art brings joy, and as her business has grown, she’s expanded into textiles, wallpaper and home decor and opened a studio and showroom in Libertyville. Luxe sits down with Kohut to talk business and pleasure.
How is your business model different? The high-end art world has been an intimidating, inaccessible market for too long. From the beginning, I set out to do things differently and to connect one-on-one with potential collectors. So, I made my original art and fine art prints available online through my website, Instagram and various media outlets.
Where do you feel most creative? My studio is my happy space for creating. The crunch of fallen glitter on the floor greets me every morning. And nature is my muse. From the sunlight glittering on blue water to the intricate pattern on a butterfly’s wings or the rainbow stripes on an exotic mushroom, they all feed into my creative process.
Anything new we can expect from you this year? I’m working on a series of prints inspired by nature’s symmetry and vibrant color palettes, along with a new 3D Bloom collection that will flow like the growth of a vine, with hand-cut collaged flowers and elements seeming to grow from an organic form.