Happiness is only real when it is shared – or so the saying goes. Putting this theory to the test is artist Ruth Knapp who creates bright, colourful pieces with the single intention of making people smile.
Art will always mean different things to different people. Depth, colour, emotion, vision, interaction: they’re all things that can be brought together in different doses with infinite results. What counts is the expression – the outlet that ultimately gives us freedom.
For artist and mum of two, Ruth Knapp, art is about making people happy. Whether it’s a painting, print or even sculpture, she wants her work to make people smile.
“It isn’t deep, it’s fun,” she says.
With influences from Pop Art, urban culture, kitsch ornaments and 90s cartoons, Ruth uses bold colours to breathe life and energy into the blankest of canvasses.
By mainly using a combination of stencils and spray paint, she creates colourful prints that catch your eye and hold your attention.
“My favourite colour at the moment is fuschia pink. It’s just really bright and fun. It makes me happy,” she says.
Ruth rediscovered her love for art around three years ago when she signed up to do a BTEC at Wensum Lodge, focusing on stencil cutting and printing.
“I loved it,” she says. “It was stressful at times but I really enjoyed it. I love using stencils. I have very little patience so along with spray paints, they’re the perfect tools.”
Having developed her own style, Ruth started to experiment more and added a digital edge to her paint box of tricks.
“Creating art digitally can be really useful. If you make a mistake you can alter it,” she says. “You can also brighten colours, add backgrounds, test things out or see what it would be like in a different colour. It also helps when you have to make lots of prints as it’s a lot quicker.”
Looking for inspiration in the city one day, Ruth happened upon a pineapple at the market and decided to make it the focus of her final piece.
Now her signature design, Ruth’s pineapples have been lovingly nicknamed “knapples” and have featured in various pieces and projects across her portfolio.
“I was making a fabric out of the design and people really liked it so I made more and more,” she says. “I love it when I get a new idea and it comes out really well. It feels really good.”
And when it comes to gaining a little inspiration, Ruth doesn’t need to look for long before she gets it.
“It might be that I see a kung fu movie or see someone biking and then I create something that’s got those themes. Inspiration comes from everyday life,” she says.
For Takeaway Art, Ruth is using her pineapple design to give subscribers a taste of her colourful artwork to try for themselves. Stenciled on chunky, industrial-looking OSB sheets, each piece is spray-painted with a unique combination of colours, making each Takeaway Art box a one off piece of art.
“I want my art to be something people want in their homes. Something people want to look at. If someone else likes my work, then I’m happy.”
With the phone tucked under her ear, Ruth wrestles with her daughter’s foot to get the last sock on before she goes out.
“I wanted to have a career that I enjoyed and also do something my children could aspire to. I wanted to be more than just a mum,” she says. “They’re really proud of what I’ve achieved and love seeing my art about. That for me makes all the hard work worth it.”
Find out more about Ruth and her art at www.ruthknapp.co.uk