Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Kansas City, Mo., artist Jill Opelka at her home studio. I had a wonderful time seeing her home and getting to know more about her and her work. From her unique style to her fun behind-the-art stories, it was a pleasure to spend time with her.
Walking into her home, which she shares with her husband, Phil, and the youngest of her five children (the others are in college and out of the nest), you can tell immediately she is a creative spirit. Her dining room is completely wallpapered in New Yorker covers, and she has a pair of quirky giant tortoises sitting in her living room. It's such a fun and inspired space that reflects her personality. That's why it's no wonder she has her studio space right there in the middle.
Located in the bright and naturally light breakfast nook, Olpelka has plenty of space to create and no shortage of beautiful outdoor views. Her art is carried into her home in even the smaller details, like practical denim quilt I found on her sofa. As a quilter myself, I had to see more. Made up of old denim garments, this ever-expanding quilt is regularly thrown over a piece of furniture before Olpelka – often covered in paint –collapses into it. When she has an old pair of jeans, she cuts them up and adds the pieces to the quilt. It's practical, and a fun reminder of all the work she has done.
Olpelka has a fantastic gallery space in the lower level of her home. On display are her larger original pieces that each has a personal back story. The blue-and-red converse painting? Based on her childhood memories of picking between the only two shoe color options. The white goat? An animal she rescued from the side of the road while driving to her weekend farm. With so many people and places from which to draw inspiration, her art truly has a personal feel to it that can warm up any home. She even offers monograms for her shoe and teacup paintings (which are perfect for baby gifts), as well as commission paintings of family, friends and fur babies.
Olpelka has a bright spirit that had me intrigued and entertained the entire time I was with her.
Adapted from nellhills.com. Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design destination Nell Hill's. For more information, contact Katie at email@example.com.