Kim Knoll painting
Photo: Ryan Segedi

Each of Kim Knoll’s minimalist paintings captures a specific memory, like the exact moment she emerged from a tunnel overlooking a secret Italian beach. A wash of golden watercolor, framed by a deep black arch, represents the trek to the hideaway. (An 8-by-10-inch print of it is pictured above.) “When I look at [the painting], it brings me back,” Knoll says. “But anyone else looking at it would never see that.” Her abstract work now adorns the walls of the Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown and 7 for All Mankind’s Milan flagship, the type of high-profile showcases that Knoll never imagined when she picked up a paintbrush for the first time in 2016. She was creating brand imagery for a client of Knoed, the Ravenswood graphic design studio that she still runs with her husband, but got carried away. Daydreaming at work sometimes pays off. From $30 for prints and $200 for originals.