Jennifer Kroll
Jennifer Kroll with a piece from her “Barcode” collection. (Jennifer Kroll)

The Jewish student organization, Hillel, recently commissioned six large paintings that will hang in a new, modern building at George Washington University in D.C.

She brightens the world and lights up room after room with her abstract, geometric paintings. Artist Jennifer Kroll of Birmingham is about as bold as you can get when it comes to color — she’ll put purple next to bright orange or align yellow, hot pink and blue without batting an eye.

And somehow, every color combination works, from pops of neon green to navy to aqua blue.

“I’m fascinated by colors and shapes, and I love experimenting with different combinations of the two,” she says. “My paintings are often the result of these explorations. Sometimes new ideas happen by accident as I mix colors and move lines.” 

Jennifer Kroll
Six of Kroll’s paintings brighten a wall. Courtesy of Jennifer Kroll

Kroll started her business, Jennifer Kroll Fine Art, in 2018. She was churning out eye-catching acrylic paintings on canvas in her home studio as a hobby when her husband, Todd, urged her to post a picture on social media. She did, and orders and inquiries started pouring in. Her paintings are now in homes and commercial buildings across the world from Australia to California, Florida and Washington, D.C.

The Jewish student organization, Hillel, recently commissioned six large paintings that will hang in a new, modern building at George Washington University in D.C., where her oldest daughter, Lilley, attends college. Her younger daughter, Marlee, 17, is graduating from Frankel Jewish Academy this year.

“I can’t believe I’m able to do something I love and make a business doing it,” Kroll says. “I’ve had a lot of commissions during COVID-19. No two paintings [or sets of paintings] are the same.”

Jennifer Kroll
Four canvases create a “Fair & Square” design. Courtesy of Jennifer Kroll

Kroll and her family attend Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield. She is a graduate of Groves High School in Beverly Hills and holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Eastern Michigan University. In college, she studied fiber arts and tried several other mediums. The one thing she never worked with was acrylic paint. Today, that’s her go-to product for laying color on thick.

“I like solid colors, and I don’t like to see any brush strokes,” she says. “Depending on the design and size of the canvas, it can take 30-60 hours to complete a painting.”

Perfect Precision

It takes patience, precision and painstaking work to create each painting. Kroll uses a process called tape blocking to achieve the crisp, clean lines that are part of her signature style. She applies a special tape over parts of each canvas and carefully peels away long strips when the timing is right. It’s a mesmerizing technique that has little-to-no margin of error. While that might stress some people out, Kroll finds it relaxing.

“I can paint for hours and hours,” she says. “I often listen to music or audio books or podcasts while I paint. I have need for precision and detail in my work.”

Many friends have sent Kroll photos of contemporary artist Jim Lambie’s spectacular floor installations. She says his color-filled tape floors have always influenced and inspired her. While straight lines and geometric shapes may seem limiting, Kroll’s paintings are constantly evolving. She has several different groups of paintings — a “barcode” series with thick and thin strips and angled lines that resemble a barcode; a “division” series with triangles, rectangles and squares; a “fair and square” series with a small center square framed by various larger squares and stripes; and other designs with zigzags, circles and optical illusions.

Jennifer Kroll
Kroll with three large pieces from her “Division” series. Courtesy of Jennifer Kroll

Recently, Kroll painted her first ever pair of canvases using neutral colors with hints of silver, gold and shades of grey. Her fans on social media went wild. “Sometimes the absence of color is exactly what makes the piece so brilliant,” wrote one fan. “These are absolutely stunning,” said another.

Where will the next painting take her? Nobody knows. But Kroll says each day in the studio is fun and exciting. Her designs are unlimited, and the future is undoubtedly bright.

“When I’m doing a painting — I’ll try a color or move a line and all of a sudden it’s a new design. It really is everchanging,” she says.

“When you’re doing something for yourself because you love it, that shows.” 

To learn more or contact Jennifer Kroll, visit jenniferkrollfineart.com

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