It seems like artist Kit Landwehr has been popping up all over the city over the past few months. Her bold-colored, structurally modern murals and prints are all over Instagram, and her work is featured prominently at Sequence Climb climbing gym, the new social club The Nelle and new Crossroads mini-hotel No Vacancy. After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2015 and working full time at the architectural metal-working firm Zahner, Landwehr has ventured into the new world of freelance.
Why murals? Where does your inspiration come from?
When I was in school, I always loved working large. But once you’re no longer a student, it’s hard to find space to do such big projects without the studio to work in. I am always making giant things that feel like they have no place to go, but painting murals was a way to work large while also allowing my pieces to have a permanent home.
I love being outside in the mountains or the desert—those landscapes are so appealing to me. A lot of times I’ll draw inspiration from photos or dream of places I want to go, but sometimes the landscapes are just completely made up in my head.
How has media affected your freelance business?
The more you put yourself out there on Instagram, the more it snowballs. It’s so fun to see people’s photos in front of the No Vacancy courtyard mural, for example. Even just on Google, I saw there was a full wedding out in front of it. I never thought that people would be getting married in front of my artwork.
What is a recent project you’re proud of?
I recently finished the mural at Sequence Climb, and I’m almost done with work for Oleo Coffee, an extension of Marcell Coffee. I’ve designed the retail bags and am confident there will be more work with them in the future.
Any Kansas City favorites?
GO: You can shop Landwehr’s prints and contact her for commissioned mural work on her website kitlandwehr.format.com.
How She Works
Kit Landwehr Shares The Backstory Of Her Most Recent Project, Retail Bags For Oleo Coffee
1. “It was a fun challenge working with Oleo Coffee. And I mean challenge in the best way. Owner Christopher Oppenhuis came to the table with general constraints for the overall look and feel, photographs from his travels to various coffee farms, and some retro coffee paraphernalia.”
2. “I had the idea to use a kettle inspired by the popular graniteware coffee boilers of the nineteenth century as a center point of the design. Blue and white wares have a long worldly history that goes back thousands of years.”
3. “To make the blue of the kettle stand out, I surrounded it with a lighter complementary hue—a peachy pink. When selecting colors, I’m always thinking about how each color looks with every adjacent color. I often think of making a piece of art like creating and solving a puzzle.”