Five years ago, Mimi Kvinge quit her full-time job in social work to pursue her passion for painting. And like many young artists who exchange gainful employment for dream chasing, Kvinge was broke.
“I was definitely struggling to make ends meet, especially since my paintings were only priced at $30,” recalled Kvinge, 27, of Seattle. “But I was riding on lot of momentum, because I loved what I did so much.”
Today, Kvinge has shown that those dreams have proven worth chasing after. She now makes her living through her original works and a sizable social media following, with a signature aesthetic of rugged outdoor and mountain scenes—art that now lives on a special fleet of Volkswagen vehicles.
As part of a new collaboration, the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) will use 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack vehicles with 4Motion® all-wheel-drive in resorts and mountain communities across the country. To highlight their special purpose, Volkswagen wanted the cars to carry a striking piece of art that paid tribute to nature’s majesty.
Kvinge paints in crisp, jagged strokes, often using bold, exaggerated colors that give her mountains great texture and overwhelming depth. The peaks are starkly defined, and the scenes are juxtaposed against wispy, celestial skies.
“When people see my paintings, I want them to feel that same awestruck feeling you get from being outside in the vastness of nature,” said Kvinge.
The painting decaled on the Alltrack vehicles, which Kvinge named “LIGHT,” conveys the significance of her close relationship with the mountains.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Kvinge started skiing at two years old. At the age of 13, she was diagnosed with a serious illness that resulted in the removal of a large section of muscle in her leg. Left to regain her physical strength and functionality of her leg, Kvinge found solace in a familiar place—the mountains.
“Climbing, skiing and hiking became a form of rehab and working through some of the trauma,” said Kvinge. “My paintings are my way of celebrating and worshipping the earth, and this piece shows how mountains can be so powerful and unpredictable, but at the same time, such a beautiful, spiritual place.”
Unknown to Volkswagen prior to reaching out to Kvinge, the artist actually spent much of her time traveling and painting in a VW Bus owned by her former partner after she’d quit her job.
“The bus was like a character in my life story. To now be in a position to collaborate and create a piece of art that’s going on a Volkswagen vehicle is a really cool full circle moment for me,” said Kvinge. “Knowing that people are seeing my work on the Alltrack, it feels like a little piece of me is scattered across the country.”
For more on Kvinge’s works, visit www.mimikvinge.com.