Photography by Paul Flessland
You may recognize her paintings from past Eco Chic Junk Markets and Design Conferences, but there’s more to Pam Killerlain than meets the eye. Much like her art, Killerlain’s story is multi-layered and colorful. Join us as we learn how this mother of three from The Lone Star State came to bring her southern charm to the Upper Midwest.
A Travelling Texan
Pam Killerlain was born and raised in Texas, where she met her future husband, Ben. Right before they got married, the Killerlains moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where they started a family. First came a son, Pierce (8), who was soon followed by two daughters, Anna Kate (5) and Claire (4).
While living in Memphis, Killerlain attended an art class that really sparked her desire to create. However, she is mainly self-taught. “I have always done art. I took a brief painting course, and I just fell in love,” she said. Soon, people took notice and began inquiring about her art.
Pam Killerlain’s art became a great provision for the Killerlain family, but Ben Killerlain was always supportive, saying, “Paint because you love it. We won’t depend on it for income.” Then, three years ago, it was her turn to be supportive, relocating the family to Moorhead because of her husband’s calling as a pastor.
the local landscape
In her paintings, Killerlain often features colorful florals, animals and rural scenery. Since moving to Moorhead, she has found plenty of inspiration in the local landscape. “I have been so pleasantly surprised, especially when we drive just a little bit outside of Fargo. I love the farms, and then the lakes, of course, when you get into Minnesota, and the old barns. I’m always making Ben pull over,” Killerlain laughed.
Killerlain was inspired to paint this bison along with other farm animals while living in Moorhead, Minnesota.
This is one of Pam Killerlain’s favorite pieces.
“I never dreamed I would sell a painting, and that people wanted them. The fact that people were interested in buying the pieces–that was what boosted my confidence early on.” – Pam Killerlain
Killerlain has also been surprised by all that the Fargo-Moorhead area has to offer, including family-friendly events like the Eco Chic Design Conference and Junk Markets. “The first Junk Market I went to, I knew immediately that I wanted a booth there. The customers are so great, and I just love Maria (Bosak),” Killerlain said.
Since then, she has set up shop at many Eco Chic-sponsored events. You may recognize her paintings by her signature, PAM, which she now writes in all-caps on every one of her paintings. “My original pieces, I signed P.K.-Pam Killerlain-but then I switched to PAM. There were at least two other P.K.’s, even just at Junk Market, and I thought, ‘This is a little too common,” she explained.
Studio, Gallery and Home
While giving us a tour of her home, Killerlain led us upstairs to what her kids call “The Get Messy Room,” also known as Killerlain’s art studio. It’s a small room with sloping ceilings and paint-splattered, linoleum floors. Her easel is located directly beneath a large window that lets in the perfect amount of natural light.
When we entered, Killerlain had a painting of an old church in hues of coral, mint and periwinkle placed upon her easel. To our surprise, Killerlain then picked up a palette knife, her favorite tool for applying paint, and began spreading a fresh, new color across the canvas. Like many artists, if Killerlain isn’t satisfied with a piece, she upcycles the canvas by simply painting over it.
Killerlain uses a mixture of house paint, acrylic paint and palette knives to give her work that colorful patina. “I use a lot of palette knives. That’s what gives some of the texture and layers of color,” she revealed. This look fits with her subject material. “I just love charming old churches and barns. I love all of the old, weathered things,” Killerlain said. She also experiments with colors that she likes to use in her own home décor.
Pierce Killerlain proudly displays his paintings on a gallery wall in his room.
Full-Time parent and Artist
Killerlain isn’t the only artist to make use of her studio. Sometimes, she paints with her three kids. In fact, her son, Pierce Killerlain, has his own gallery wall in his room, while Anna Kate and Claire Killerlain have decorated their room with their art. Both girls have also said that they want to grow up to be just like their mom, a full-time parent and artist.