Mural artist Kim Lonsky brightens local shops during dark times

Franklin. Kim Lonsky of Stockholm paints stunning murals, most recently at The Nail Studio in Franklin. The self-taught artist shares her creative journey, and the art that keeps people smiling during COVID-19.

25 Aug 2020 | 06:19

I have been an artist for many years. I was born and raised in Stockholm. I reside here with my husband, Jonathan, my eight-year-old daughter, Paige, and my 19-year-old son, Jake. I went to Wallkill Valley High School and studied at Sussex County Community College.

I am pretty much self-taught, and have done everything from house portraits to detailed realistic wildlife animals, to hand-painted custom wood signs. I’ve used a variety of mixed media, including pen and ink, watercolor, but mainly acrylics.

My main job has been a nail tech, air brush tanner, and front desk coordinator for 29 years. I’ve worked, primarily in Sparta at Bella Medispa, but also at the George Michael Salon and Aveda in Naples, Florida.

I turned to window painting for something different about 10 years ago, with the prompting of one of my nail customers, who told me there wasn’t really anyone who did this kind of work anymore. So I decided to research it for a while, practice on my home, solicit some projects. Then my side business took off!

People started to notice more and more. Before I knew it, word of mouth, and the sight of me out there painting storefronts, turned into a steady clientele, with sometimes a waiting list. Now I do them for all seasons. I have become known as “The Window Girl.” My Facebook page, under Window Art by Kim, shows pictures I’ve done for past customers. I do spring/summer murals to fall/winter/holiday murals. I start off assessing the windows of the shop to get a feel for what the customer is looking for, then sketch out the design. Once it’s approved, I go to work.

I do anything from snowmen, Christmas scenes, trees, presents, whimsical, snowflakes, logos. Most of the time customers give me carte blanche to make it cheerful and bright. I start in early November so that I can get to everybody before it gets too cold. It’s one of my favorite jobs in the whole world. It not only draws in more business for customers, but it brightens up the towns and puts smiles on people’s faces.

I primarily painted in Sparta, but quickly went to work in all towns in Sussex County, even as far as The UPS Stores in Cranford and Flemmington.

Aside from working in the coldest conditions sometimes, I don’t always consider it “work” because #ilovewhatido. The only challenge I have is when the weather is 37 degrees or below. The winter attire, and cold hands and feet slow me down. Heated gloves and feet warmers help a bit.

Big, bright, and bold

When Rebecca contacted me to do a full sized mural on the side of her business, The Nail Studio in Franklin, I was thrilled. Because of the size, I knew it was going to take some time and planning. She was very patient and helpful throughout the process. Her only request was for it to be big, bright, and bold, something that would stand out to advertise her business for women’s hair as well as men’s and nails.

With lots of ladder work (I am a mosquito magnet!) and tent shade, paint spills, new ideas, glitter and shine, and lots of laughs, the mural was completed. We both were excited about how it came out, and the outpouring of positivity all across social media , as well as in person, made this charming little place even happier and stand out all the more.

Aside from all the news, politics, the Covid pandemic, school policies, everything that is in an uproar in this world right now, this little building in Franklin has put a smile on a lot of people’s faces on a happier note. People need some positivity right now. It is safe and easy for me to work because I I work alone, and I am outside, social distanced from everything. So that allows me to work freely and safely during these times.

Editor’s note: You can get in touch with Kim Lonsky at 973-270-1985.

“Aside from working in the coldest conditions sometimes, I don’t always consider it ‘work’ because #ilovewhatido.” --Kim Lonsky