Kris Schmolze has been working as a full-time visual artist and musician since 2016. Drawing inspiration from science, technology, and nature. Kris’s recent work is investigating abstract painting through the exploration of color relationships derived from imagery found in the natural world.



It has been quite a year for however long. So many things happened and yet nothing did. Distancing, dying, isolating, masking, vaccinating, and all the while I was creating. Initially, I was paralyzed as COVID-19 kicked off. Elective surgeries were canceled as a fistula festered in between my mouth and sinuses from a botched dental extraction. I was granted two life-saving procedures by a pair of surgeons. My partner, our pet, and I decided to flee Kansas City as mask holes moseyed about.  


We found safe harbor with her parents in her hometown for a few weeks until a  derecho decimated Cedar Rapids. I had started the architectural portrait in pencil of the A T Averill house prior and painted it post in Grandview for three weeks at her grandmother’s home until power and internet returned. A room in the Averill house became my studio for this artwork and sheltered us from the storm. 

Spent the remainder of the summer, autumn, winter, and into the spring working with color and composition wishing to open up into exploring abstraction.  Once the new studio space was set up I began building dozens of large canvases just before another surgery to repair my foot from a car wreck. This put me on my duff for several months so I began drawing with alcohol-based markers filling whole sheets of archival paper.  

It is usually good to have an idea to explore with your work while searching for multiple answers to questions you find interesting. Looking at images from electron microscopes and images from deep space telescopes I found these tiny and gigantic worlds enveloping our lives while reaching far from the world we live on. I found the coloring choices scientists make of these black and white images fascinating by helping to define these pictures of creatures and landscapes more clearly. 

I explored how colors relate to each other through designs and patterns. Warm colors versus cool colors. Positive space versus negative space. The paints I use are fluorescent at times; some glow under black light and most have an ultraviolet light resistance, which allows them to remain vivid for decades. Initially, I was working very tight on smaller canvasses. Eventually, I became more comfortable opening up to the space provided by larger surfaces. Finally, things began to integrate and overlap. 

No matter how bad I thought a drawing or painting was going I forced myself to complete it and then move on. Every one of these artworks went through a period of time where I felt it was ugly or not working out. It can be as frustrating as it is rewarding to make art. Not everything you make will be great. As an artist, you do not know how people will respond. Pieces I feel are strongest for me may not be the same for anyone else. You never know until you put it out there. Stopping when things are difficult assures your work will never get better. So why quit if you are behind when you can just keep making art and see where you end up instead?