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Rising Stars: Meet Caroline Kane & Alli VanKleeck of Smock & Roll

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caroline Kane & Alli VanKleeck. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Caroline got the desire to become a muralist when she was living in Detroit Michigan, a city covered in some of the world’s greatest street art. She began her journey in actively trying to find walls to paint in 2016. A year later, Caroline moved to Salt Lake City and met Alli, who was a fellow artist starting her own Design Studio. Caroline found odd jobs assisting designers and muralists who needed help on large projects to build her portfolio.

In 2019 Alli began helping Caroline paint and they started taking on their own jobs, getting opportunities to utilize their own designs. What started as a fun pastime for two friends eventually turned into an incredible career opportunity. By the end of 2019, demand was high enough for the ladies to commit to forming an official company. Thus, Smock & Roll was born.

Nowadays, they create custom murals for a broad array of clients, provide creative consultation services, teach as guest lecturers at the University of Utah’s School of Fine Art, and offer a Give Back Program that offers murals to non-profits at discounted rates.

They are also in the process of structuring an internship program that aims to provide up-and-coming artists who have an exceptional story to tell. This program provides a crash course in what it’s like to be a muralist and how to build your own creative business.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest challenge when starting out was having no idea how to structure a mural company, specifically. Basic things like how to calculate project rates and negotiate with clients were foreign concepts, but Alli’s experience in running her own Graphic Design company helped structure what seemed so amenable. Caroline’s specialty in networking and marketing made finding business opportunities grow organically.

We both share a strong work ethic that has built to success over time. There were projects at the beginning where we definitely undercharged because we did not know the value of our work. And we are still working on perfecting our estimates on how much paint we’ll need for a project! That is the sort of thing that just gets refined with experience.

Because we both run our own businesses outside of Smock & Roll, one of the toughest challenges that have come with success is the work-work-life balance! Managing two full-time jobs as well as personal lives has been the best challenge we could imagine.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
We are known for our bold, graphic style and solid color theory. Our murals are poppy and clean, and most often depict flora, fauna, and fables. We enjoy storytelling through our work, and dancing off a long day of painting! We are most proud of our ability to grow our business organically.

The majority of our work comes from referrals, return clients, or people we bump into while painting. We’ve lived and breathed this work for three years straight and it’s finally showing! We have loved participating in mural festivals this year and love the idea of going out of state for a festival.

We’re also incredibly proud of our work with utilizing our backgrounds in Trauma-Informed Care to design projects for more vulnerable spaces, like the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, where we also found our first intern. Though we definitely have a variety of styles we are becoming known for, something that sets us apart from many fine artists is we still approach murals from a design mindset.

Our goal is less to paint whatever we want, and more to send the message the client wants. As design-minded ladies we take client branding, messaging, intended audience and mural location all into consideration while concepting. We have an iterative design process, and love feedback from our clients! Nothing goes on the wall until they love their design.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
We love working with individuals that appreciate creativity and individuality. We love designing for organizations with strong company cultures, playful imaginations, and good values.

Additionally, we are really excited about the prospect of working out of state, so sharing our information with any businesses outside of Utah is a great way to help us in that goal!

We also plan to host public art events moving forward, in hopes to collaborate with fellow Utah artists and get more opportunities to interact with our community. We would love your attendance and participation! These events will always be promoted on our website and Instagram.

Pricing:

  • We have a $1200 minimum per project
  • The project is priced per square foot
  • Project estimate is dependent on square footage, level of detail in design, and wall finish.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Alyssa Powers and Brendan O’Leary

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