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Finding a Home in Art

Kimberly Allred Grows a Hobby into a Successful Business

Kimberly Allred is a professional who works a full-time job in economic development, but thanks to Instagram, she’s growing a burgeoning side business, selling commissioned paintings from her home studio in Roswell. “I’ve always been pretty artistic,” she explains, but, in search of a more predictable career path she decided to forego art school and attend University of Mississippi. (She focused on International Studies and Spanish and then earned her MBA.)

After she and her husband, Brandon, were married seven years ago, she was looking for an inexpensive way to decorate the walls of their house in Tupelo, Mississippi. To be practical, she began painting in her free time, hoping to save some money and to avoid adorning their walls with the inexpensive reproduced art found at chain stores.

First, she tried to recreate abstracts which looked like they’d be easiest to replicate. “It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” she admits with a laugh. She then moved to still life paintings, but with a hint of abstract “funk” and eventually to a more realistic and detailed style of painting.

As friends visited and expressed interest in buying some of her pieces, she felt she was on to something. Soon, she was creating pieces for a local retail shop in Tupelo. After gaining some traction there, she decided to pursue her creative outlet more seriously, painting commissioned pieces—a model she refers to as “business art”—for friends and neighbors looking for portraits of their pets or weddings.

One of her most popular offerings are house portraits. “Painting houses is a growing market right now,” she says. “Houses are turning pretty quickly, so I’ve been doing a lot of house portraits for realtors as closing gifts. It’s a sweet, personal and unique gift.”

Though she hesitates to describe herself as a “self-taught” artist, her only real training was the art classes she attended as a high school student in Jackson, Mississippi. She enjoys the creative outlet that “tinkering” with painting has given her. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s relaxing,” she says. “Really, it’s more the satisfaction of seeing it come together and being proud of it, and then seeing people’s reaction to it and knowing it will be something they’re going to cherish.”

Though Kimberly and Brandon had previously lived in Buckhead before returning to Mississippi, when Brandon’s career brought them back to Atlanta, they happened upon Roswell while searching for a home that would be close to his job. After four years, Kimberly says that it’s the sense of community and local pride that she loves best about Roswell. She’s also an active volunteer both overseeing the Women’s Ministry at her church, Christ Fellowship, and serving on the Young Professionals Advisory Committee for the Drake House. Kimberly has also donated artwork to benefit many causes and is currently planning an event with the Younique Foundation, a local non-profit that serves women who have been sexually abused as children or adolescents.

Most of her clients find her through word of mouth or her Instagram (@ksallred). She urges anyone interested in commissioning portraits to reach out for pricing.

Prints of her work are also found at local businesses in Roswell like Deep Roots wine shop and From Sir With Love, which are stocked with tea towels printed with images of some of her dog paintings and a watercolor of a map of Roswell.

In the future, Kimberly is excited to work more closely with interior designers to create larger abstract art for their spaces. “I really do love those statement pieces and I’m excited to focus on expanding that aspect of my business more.”