Some artists illustrate everyday life with a sense of reality, while others infuse the mundane with magic and whimsy. Karolin Schnoor, a German illustrator and designer working in London, is in the latter category. The first time I saw her work, I was drawn to the lone female figures quietly working, lounging, or daydreaming, usually in stylish ensembles, a sense of playful contemplation up their sleeves. They seemed familiar and expressive, like abstract portraits of your best friend wearing her favorite floral coat for a bike ride or running errands in a striped tee.
It’s not just Schnoor’s clever use of color that makes her work so captivating; it’s the patterns, too. Stripes compete with polka dots, floral chairs recall the energetic designs of Marimekko, and a fox takes in the tattooed tulips and abstract pinwheels enlivening his tail. Schnoor’s work isn’t one note , though; she also paints sad girls for the aptly titled Sad-Girls zine and recently designed The Queen vs Trenton Oldfield, a prison diary chronicling the paperwork and objects given to a controversial arrestee. It’s all fantastic, and she sells everything from prints to tea towels here.