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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Whimsy and Wonder

Painters often are pictured standing at an easel, working in a studio on a piece that’s been meticulously planned. For interior design muralist Anita Roll, this isn’t quite the case. Her success largely can be attributed to her ability to adapt and lean into the spontaneous nature of her trade, and her willingness to let creativity take control.

Roll, an Evansville native who moved back to the River City about 10 years ago, was drawn to artistic pursuits at a young age. Seven years after graduating from the University of Evansville in 1984 with a degree in commercial art, Roll was approached by the producers of “A League of Their Own” to be a scenic artist for the film.

“We would take new construction and paint it in such a way that it would look 100 years old,” Roll says. “I learned a lot from them that I still use in distressing techniques, like certain ways you can paint or tools you can use.”

Roll then was hired to paint scenery for mini-series filmed in Charleston, South Carolina, called “Separate But Equal,” starring Sidney Poitier and Burt Lancaster. After Charleston, Roll lived in Atlanta for more than 15 years. While in Atlanta, she was commissioned to paint a children’s bedroom that was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine. The bedroom caught the eye of interior designer Terri Kemp, owner of Alpharetta, Georgia-based Terri Kemp Interiors, who has commissioned Roll for projects ever since. She has also painted in award-winning homes for East Coast builders such as Beazer Homes USA, HHHunt, and Robuck Homes.

Roll has found her niche traveling and painting commissioned murals for designers throughout the country. Her projects usually are statement rooms in private homes or model homes, often commissioned via word of mouth.

“Most of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing until I get there. We create things on the spot. We’re so used to doing that and on a large scale,” she says. “I love what I’m doing, and I hope I leave that energy behind in that room, that drives me, because I always look at the room I’ve painted, and it’s part of me.”

Photos provided by Anita Roll.

On A Roll ~ anitaroll.com

Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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