Junior Kim Ehrhard may be studying pharmacy at MU, but she spends her free time exploring a more creative outlet.
Ehrhard paints canvases. She paints everything from John Mayer and NEEDTOBREATHE lyrics, quotes from Marilyn Monroe and “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” and colorful paintings of peacocks, giraffes and other animals. They range from simple designs to elaborate multicolored patterns.
“I think it’s just the freedom of expression, being able to put what I want to put on a piece,” Ehrhard said. “Being able to put something down that I want to is my way to get away from the world.”
Painting canvases began as a way to fill Ehrhard’s free time, but it wasn’t long before she turned her hobby into a business idea.
Because Ehrhard is taking summer classes, she didn’t have time to take on a summer job. As a way to still make some extra money, she opened up her own online store through Etsy, called KimsCanvases, where she sells handmade canvases featuring a variety of subjects.
“I really like band lyrics, and other things involving my favorite bands — John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band — and I would take those and put them on canvases,” she said.
Soon her friends saw her canvases and wanted their own. Ehrhard’s friends began asking her to make paintings for them.
“[After creating KimsCanvases] my friends were like, ‘Hey, can you paint me this quote with this color scheme?’” Ehrhard said. “So I started originally doing my inspiration and now, more, I’m painting what people tell me to paint.”
Ehrhard took a drawing class in high school, but doesn’t have any formal artistic training. Instead, she taught herself.
“One summer my mom and I would get together and draw stuff,” Ehrhard said. “Then I realized, ‘Well, I kind of want to start painting,’ so I grabbed a canvas and jotted down my favorite lyrics.”
Most of her canvases have been sold through word of mouth and various MU Facebook pages where Ehrhard has posted links to her website. The price for her artwork ranges from $15-$30 and made-to-order canvases cost $20.
“It’s completely different from my major, so I think it’s really cool that I’m able to do something like that on the side and then still do my major as well,” she said.