We Rise With Style Q&A with lead home stylist Karen Knapp

Posted in In the Studio, Out of the Studio, Art Style Files by Ruth Reyes on 03rd July 2014

We catch up with Karen Knapp, lead home stylist at West Elm, who is working with us on our exciting event with West Elm, #WeRiseWithStyle, where five artists will be styled by the home styling team to create a story in store - showcasing the art work in a home environment.

What's the most important thing to know about you?
I am a bit of a free spirit and love to travel and experience as much as I can.  I do love to learn new things.
How did you get into styling?
I have always been interested in Textiles - the way things work with each other, depending on the colour, texture and pattern can vary how something looks. I studied Textile and Fashion Design at Cardonald College in Glasgow (where Deryck Walker studied), then went to Duncan of Jordanstone Art School in Dundee, to specialise in Woven and Printed Textiles. I moved to Australia by myself after I graduated for two years, to get a bit more life experience before I started a career. I happened to see an advert recruiting for Williams-Sonoma - Pottery Barn (West Elm's sister company), and I was given a shot as a Design Specialist - it was amazing to get an opportunity to style these beautiful houses in Sydney and now London.
Your style in 3 words?
It's a blend, depending on how I feel each day. Relaxed, layered, feminine with an edge. Sorry - I can't stick to 3 words!
Best thing about working for West Elm?
The interesting customers I get to meet every day - I'm finding out about them, not just about their homes.  I get to work for a company that has beautifully designed products, which all have a story behind them.  I love finding out about the stories behind our handcrafted products, as I love things that have meaning.  I then get to help people use these products to make their homes even more special and personable. 


Photo of West Elm's living wall in store
From Kristin Gaudio-Endsley's Instagram


Tell us a bit about We Rise with Style.
We Rise with Style is a collaboration with Rise Art and West Elm bringing together artists and stylist together to help create a story in a room. Many people come to West Elm asking what to put on their walls with their furntiture and are at a loss at how to bring art into the home. This a great opportunity for us to showcase how to do this and some great artists!
Who are the artists you've picked and why?
I chose Kristin Gaudio Endsley and Andy Wilx. Firstly, I picked Kristin - as her work reminds me of my own, so  I had an instant attraction to it. I love abstract work.  Her use of colour.  The textural quality her work has. It is free and expressive.


Kristin Gaudio-Endsley
Heat with paint 3


I picked Andy, as his work is a contrast. It has a child-like feel, mixed with a sophisticated edge that I like. I love how his work is heavily patterned and there is no blank space left. When you take a closer look in to the detail, it had a glitter effect to it, which really catches the sunlight.

Andy Wilx
Dreaming of Fish


I think both artists work would be a great focal point to have in any room and would be talking points.
How are you going to use their work to create a story?
Key colours, patterns and textures to match key pieces in store, to give the customer a visual of how a full room layout can be achieved.
Importance of art when creating a room?
The importance of art when creating a room is valuable as it makes the feel of the room finished. To increase the impact of art in a room, repeat colour from the art.
Why should people come and see the stories?
Come visit - something new which is completely different from what is on the high street. It's a great way to collaborate with local artists to help bring our community together. 
Don't miss the Rise Art and West Elm collaboration from 17th - 20th July, in-store at 209 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7PN! RSVP HERE