Fairy Tale Worlds by Mercedes Knapp

Mercedes Joy Knapp an illustrator, painter, designer and activist from Michigan, who paintings caught our eye at several festivals. We had to find out who she was …

Who are you Mercedes Knapp?

I am a visual artist from Michigan. I create anything from whimsical colored pencil drawings, to oil paintings, to high-vibration gemstone jewelry, to sculptures. As a meditation on the beauty of the Earth, and the spirit that moves through everything inhabiting it, my work creates a magnificent celebration from every buoyant hue and springing line.

While working towards my BFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, I found that my love for color and interconnection which I depict in my work, also translated into various music events around the Twin Cities. This inspired me to take my natural state of creation and contemplation into the public realm. I now enjoy expressing myself at these events through the visual medium, hoping to inspire others to see the festivity in all parts of life. My work depicts inner life, fueled by imagination, emotions, and an unending curiosity about how “alive” we can really be. The delicate, whimsical scenarios in my pictures discover what seems to be otherworldly and bring glimpses of it to this reality; they are a celebration of the imagination and soul.

State of Spiritual Affairs

Colored pencil on 24″x 19″ bristol, 2016

Where have you spent most of your life? Where you born there?

I was born and grew up in a tiny town in mid-Michigan, but I went to college in Minneapolis and I’d say that’s where I really grew up.

What question do you hate to answer?

“How do you feel?” Haha, I’m scared of the vulnerability that comes with answering that.

What have you always wanted? Did you ever get it?

I always wanted a passionate,deeper-than-the-sea romantic relationship. I absolutely got my wish, and now I can learn from that experience that maybe next time I’d add “committed to growth and respect” onto that wish!

If you could change something about the world, what would that be?

I’d make sure everyone had the energy to care about and take action on the things they want to change themselves! I think apathy is half physical.

Would you rather regret doing something, or not doing it at all?

I’m still figuring out the answer to that! I’m a Scorpio so I don’t recycle experiences well; they kind of stain my soul. So, if I’m not careful I can really get messed up by something. But I have Sagittarius rising so I definitely do things more than not- in the spirit of them being opportunities!

At a festival oron the road, how many days have you gone without showering?

I was on this caravan called UpToUs back in July 2016, where we went to the Democratic National Convention to send some love and see how the political system really works, and I must’ve not showered the whole week except using deodorant wipes. It was so hot we were just sweating all day. I remember sitting on the ground on the last morning with tiny gnats flying around my pits and I was like, “This is it. This is the dankest I’ve ever been.” I went nine days without a shower at Standing Rock, I counted. That was fine because everyone hid under winter coats, but it wasn’t fine because I didn’t get to properly rinse off a mace attack and the following milk antidote.


19″ x 24″ in colored pencil on bristol, 2015

How many people do you fall in love with every day?

Currently I’m in hibernation mode at my family’s place so the max is five (there are six of us). But when I’m out in the world it’s like my soul’s hemorrhaging.

What’s the worst part about dating?

Not being on the same page!

If the world was going to end and you knew it, what 3 things …?

Would I do? Reach out to my estranged exes and see how they’re doing, gather up all my friends and have beach parties in Costa Rica, and eat all the really delicious fresh food I can get my hands on.

What website do you check every day?

Facebook. So much going on!

What super power do you dream of having?

Talking to animals. Still working on it!

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Quadruple chocolate chunk. Just stuff as much chocolate in it as you can!


22″ x 30″ colored pencil on paper

At what age did you become an adult?

Probably like 19.

The best part of waking up is?

The chance to do something you love!

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Someone carting me around everywhere, definitely! Baha!

What is the one thing you are truly passionate about?


Favorite food?

Tom Yum; it’s like the chicken noodle soup of Southeast Asia!

You’re first job?

Condensing old medical records at a hospital. It was a temp gig.

Tea or coffee?


Morning or night person?



Colored pencil on 24″x 19″ bristol, 2017

Favorite music to dance to?

World music or EDM!

Indoor or outdoor type?


Spontaneous or like things planned?


What drives you nuts?

People who just don’t care!

What makes you happy?

Loving friends

Bad boys or good boys?


Favorite fashion magazine?


Hike or bike?


Half-empty or half-full?

Put the glass down!

One thing you will never do again?

Loan anything and expect it back

Most favorite word?


Least favorite word?


Who knows you the best?


What do you think cats dream about?


Happy Thoughts
12″ x 16″ colored pencil on bristol paper, 2014

What’s the hardest part about creating? And what’s the easiest?

The hardest part can be feeling good enough. Like your work is worthy of existing.The easiest is feeling like it should exist.

What influenced what you paint today?

Mycreations are a meditation on goodness and beauty. All the horror and fear inthe world is a result of human creation, and when we plant a garden or smile ata stranger or paint something beautiful we are creating the reality that wewant our children to have. So, I’m definitely influenced by a need to yell fromthe rooftops, “THE WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL!” but also to actually prove it tosomeone.

How would youexplain your style?

Well,of course it’s very idyllic and whimsical, which got me in trouble in art school sometimes because people would dumb it down to not really having anything important or heavy to say. But I struggled deeply with feelings of despair as a teenager that still arise often in my adult life and the color and brightness is an important part of maintaining a strong connection to spirit. I try to be elegant in the struggle so maybe that’s why it goes under the radar, but I think it’s important to acknowledge.

Thank you, Mercedes!

Mercedes Joy Knapp, enthusiastic bird, activist and artist.

Mercedes’s work can be seen on her website HERE.

Follow her on Instagram HERE.

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