By Joy Riggs
Kprecia Ambers intended to major in web design. But when she took a graphic design course early in her college career and discovered that it combined her lifelong love of drawing and her longtime interest in fashion design, she quickly switched her major.
“That’s where I really fell in love with how art can be used to connect with people, how it can be used to communicate and to inspire,” she said.
While learning different aspects of graphic design at Concordia University in St. Paul, Kprecia continued to explore how she could use her art in a meaningful way that went beyond helping companies with their branding. During her junior year, she had an epiphany: she could reach people and make them feel good by putting her art on home décor products.
“The world is overwhelming; it can be hateful and negative. A lot of time it’s the negative that stands out, so that right there became my drive—I’m going to make artwork that’s inspiring, and it’s going to be in the home,” she said.
For her senior project, she created patterns on pillows, and after she graduated in 2015, she continued to explore patterns in textile design. She also looked for Black representation in the graphic design world, and she became discouraged at the lack of designers who were people of color.
“That led me to thinking again about the type of work I wanted to make, and it inspired me to create my own business. It inspired me to create artwork that I wanted to see in the world, and it inspired me to be the example that I kept searching for, a Black mentor,” she said. “Now there is a lot more diversity, and it’s easier to find designers of color, which feels good. I’m happy to be part of that sector, continuing to do that work.”
Kprecia started her company, Kp Inspires, in 2018. She initially focused on creating artwork and using print on demand to make pillows, which she sold at vendor shows and galleries. By 2019, she started getting requests and commissions, and the Minneapolis-based business expanded beyond her original goals.
“I tell people God had a different direction for me, in not just using art to satisfy what I wanted or envisioned, but to collaborate and partner with different businesses to help amplify the messages, help celebrate the people, humanize people and help educate. It expanded in a different way than I ever imagined,” she said.
Kprecia loves photography and uses it as a basis for her digital art, which celebrates Black representation. She is particularly proud that Target selected her as a Spotlight Artist for its Black Beyond Measure campaign. Her artwork was featured on a line of Room Essentials merchandise that became available in June 2023 and included pillows, journals and shower curtains.
Other recent projects include illustrating “Echo In the Distance,” a children’s book about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; designing the cover for “Publish Her Anthology: Better Together”; and creating illustrations of different types of female bodies for an Adidas campaign called Reimagine Sport: Play Your Way.
Kprecia served as a mentor last spring to high school students participating in a four-week workshop sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield, where they used art to share stories about racism in health care. She hopes to do it again next year.
“The students are super talented, and they didn’t need a lot of guidance, but even teaching them about how I go about creating and starting a project was helpful,” she said.
In the next five to 10 years, she hopes to collaborate with different businesses around the world, and she’d like to work with more nonprofit organizations, especially those that uplift children in some way.
“I started saying the world is my canvas, and I want to paint it Kp style. I want billboards, I want skateboards, I want roller skates, I want murals, I want to create something in Target Center—why not design the basketball court, or have a huge mural in there somewhere? I see no limits,” she said.
Photo credit: Kprecia Ambers
About the Author
Joy Riggs is the author of “Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man,” a book of memoir and biography about music’s power to connect people across generations. She’s worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine columnist, and a freelance writer and editor (she also has experience as a bagel secret shopper—shhh!). Joy thinks people are endlessly fascinating, and she enjoys helping other women tell their stories.
About Publish Her
Publish Her is a female-founded publisher dedicated to elevating the words, writing and stories of women. We are passionate about amplifying the voices of women of color, women with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We aim to make publishing an attainable, exciting and collaborative process for all. Publish Her specializes in print-on-demand books, workbooks, journals, magazines and more.