One thing I’ve learned in my years of visiting artists’ studios is that they’re rarely what I expect. Danielle Kroll’s was no exception. Sure, I expected it to be full of beautiful art and hoped to see a plethora of paints and piles of paper, but I had no idea just how fun, colorful, and full of creativity-sparking treasures her space would be.
I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical when I arrived at what looked like a warehouse in a seemingly industrial part of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (But, in actuality, I shouldn’t have been. By now I should know that many interesting and inspiring places are hidden away in former factories and warehouse buildings.)
Danielle invited our small group-myself, a photographer, and our content intern-into the old building and we followed her up a steep staircase into a beautiful communal area used by several artists. While I was impressed by the art in the halls, the eclectic combination of furniture, and the relaxed feel of the whole space, Danielle’s own studio really blew me away. Flooded with natural light, decorated with her own art and art she’s collected, and filled with books, it was the kind of space where I felt right at home.
That welcomed feeling was only enhanced by the artist’s openness and enthusiasm. She not only showed us some of her paintings, but also opened her sketchbooks, showed off some of her favorite objects she’s collected as a self-proclaimed “pack rat,” and shared about a few of her creative projects.
What are your most essential tools?
Holbein Acryla Gouache, my enamel palette, Somerset watercolor paper, and a number 3 round brush.
Where do you find inspiration within this space?
On a good day I find inspiration just by walking in here. I’m a pack rat and so is my mom. And my grandma was too. So I’ve acquired a lot of random stuff in my life. Mostly ephemera, books, textiles, doo-dads, and a good variety of art supplies.
Where does downtime fit into a day in the studio?
I always set aside time during the day for a walk around the neighborhood. Whether that’s to get a coffee, go to a meeting, drop off mail, or just to take a walk. It’s my favorite mode of transportation and if I have the time, I’ll walk anywhere. I think my record might be around 20 miles in one day in Manhattan.
What was the toughest lesson you learned as a young designer starting a business?
I think running a business gets tougher the longer you do it. Right now I’m realizing that I’m not always going to know what’s right for me or for my business. Starting out was easy, because I knew I wanted to be an illustrator and I put all my efforts into doing that. But at this point I’ve dabbled in so many different things since I first started out that it’s difficult to know what I should spend my time on.
What advice would you offer the you of 5 years ago?
Label your files better!
How do you set goals for yourself?
I make them in my head and they nag and nag on me until I complete them. So if I have a project in mind it sits there until I work on it. Right now I have a lot of ideas so my mind is very busy!
How and when do you decide to celebrate a victory?
I treat myself to dessert and/or shopping.
What quote keeps you motivated? What does that quote mean to you?
“Keep Doin.” I got this at the Printed Matter Book Fair one of my first years in Brooklyn. It’s just a simple reminder to keep moving on if the day gets me down.
What are some new skills you are trying to acquire to perfect your craft?
Right now I’m trying to maintain everything I’ve already started so I’m not branching out into anything new. But I have been visiting my ceramics studio (Clayspace 1205) once a week after taking a break over the summer. I’ve been making ceramics for 2 years and it’s always a learning process.
How do you recharge your creativity?
By getting out of the city and being in nature. Sometimes just going to Central Park is enough but there’s nothing like the peacefulness I receive from being on a hike or a camping trip.
Where does collaboration come into play with your craft?
I have a side project called Beech Hall which I work on with two of my friends from college. We all work in different mediums and collaborate on making a theme-based collection. We make textiles, pillows, jewelry, and ceramics together so there is a wide range of variety going on in one collection.