Bolen Books - A Window to Design

Bolen Books - A Window to Design

By: Nick Pappas

When Bolen Books was looking for a muralist to adorn the store’s iconic windows, Jenny Pankratz jumped at the opportunity. There was only one problem.

She’d never painted a window before.

Pankratz was a student at the Pacific Design Academy when she began working at Bolen Books in 2019. For years, the bookstore adorned their floor to ceiling windows with a variety of art, from book covers to scenes from nature. Though she hadn’t painted a window, Pankratz had an extensive painting background. She practiced on her own windows at home to figure out the technique and translated it into bold beautiful murals.

Later, Bolen Books partnered with Kikkerland to create a store-within-a-store.  For Pankratz, it was a chance to showcase her love of design by showcasing products well-known for their eclectic designers. 

“Kikkerland has such interesting products,” Pankratz said. “It was helping me get more involved in my own career — seeing other people’s work and translating it in a style that’s beautiful and appealing to people on the street.”

She pulled the pastel color palette from Kikkerland’s Instagram page, choosing monochrome colors for the background and warm colors in the foreground. She was particularly drawn to the vibrant colors Kikkerland is known for.  

“It’s cute and practical, and those are the things that I enjoy,” Pankratz said. 

When deciding which products to paint in her murals, Pankratz had the freedom to choose her favorites from those Bolen Books would sell in-house. One of Kikkerland’s best sellers, the Solar Queen, was a given. She was also drawn to David Dear’s Solar-Powered Rainbowmaker because of its intricate mechanisms. But the product she was most excited about required a deeper dive in the catalog – the Luchador Bottle Opener.

“I chose the ones that sparked joy in me, the Luchador Bottle Opener especially,” Pankratz said. “Painting a 9-foot luchador gave me so much joy, you have no idea.”  

Pankratz added that Kikkerland’s products reminded her why she fell in love with design in the first place.

“Kikkerland captured what I as a designer always want to capture, which is that fun, that kind of life, the passion, and it’s practical, too,” Pankratz said. 

She’s currently working as a freelance designer and muralist. She also helps companies design their websites. You can find more of her work at jennypankratzdesign.com.

Next article How A Toy Car Saved A Forest