Page Turner: Meet Andrew King

Andrew king poses with one of his paintings.

By Andrea Douglas

Meet this issue’s reader: He admits he’s not a “typical” reader – no long, intense novels or top 10 Chapters’ picks. And he often prefers reading material with pictures and maps. But that should come as no surprise when one learns the reader, Andrew King, is an extremely talented local artist. His ‘Sketches of the Past’ often grace the pages of this very paper, as he turns his interest in history and buildings into beautiful illustrations of local architecture.

Originally from Kingston, the “thirty-some- thing” King came to Ottawa to study Industrial Design at Carleton University. His love for car design (“I had been fasci- nated by technology and transportation since I was a kid”) led him there, but the emphasis on math and engineering (“I cannot do algebra”) had him seeking new challenges within a few years. He created a comic strip for The Citizen for a while before heading to Algonquin College to study TV animation. Working for a number of TV studios doing animation was great work, but his true passion – painting – kept calling him away and a few years ago, he left what he calls “regular gigs” to follow his dream.

His contemporary art (clean lines, bright colours) often features planes, trains and automobiles as well as some more whimsical subjects like flying houses. He has many gallery showings each year and in 2009, his studio (located at 1226A Wellington St., Second Floor) became a stop in the annual West End Studio Tour which he’ll be part of again this September.

Reading habits: “I don’t read books,” he says (well, not many anyway). The Citizen is part of his daily morning routine, as is flipping through the North American road atlas as he eats his cereal. Right now he’s studying Maine, in anticipation of a trip there to explore the less-travelled side of the state. He does a lot of online reading, and loves magazines, particularly National Geographic (“It’s like travelling, but for the price of a maga- zine!”).

Currently reading: The atlas (a lifelong commitment); a book on fighter planes of World War II; and 100 Years of Wooden Glory, a book about the famed antique mahogany boats of the Muskokas. He’s actually restored an antique aluminum boat (and won first prize in his category at the Clayton boat show last summer), but has had to content himself with building a replica mahogany boat (a little more affordable than the real thing) which he displays in his studio above the Home Hard- ware on Wellington.

Some favourites: Zany Afternoons by Bruce McCall. McCall is a sometimes illustrator for the New Yorker magazine (and sometimes writer for Saturday Night Live), and this book contains vintage scenes of McCall’s “vision” of the exuberance of the 1930s in the great city. Each illustration is accompanied by an amazing storyline below and King credits this book (and his Dad, who bought it for him), with inspiring him to become a full-time painter; all the James Bond books by Ian Fleming – and the movies do not begin to come close to doing the books justice, says King; All the Tin Tin books, the famous red- headed French cartoon character by Hergé. Tintin is a young Belgian reporter who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. King’s favourite is Explorers on the Moon (“That guy was a genius and it’s never been replicated in animation because only Hergé can capture the details and subtlety.”) A book about the 10 great mysteries in Canada, which features the mystery of Oak Island, a hidden buried treasure off Nova Scotia (he’s part of the Oak Island Fan club too); Holes by Louise Sachar is a favourite that King says everyone should read. The story is about an adolescent boy sent to a reform camp, where he must dig one grave-sized hole each day as punishment for a crime we’re led to believe he did not commit. “Even though it’s a kid’s book, it’s about friendship, perseverance and triumph of the human spirit—and it has twists and turns that everyone can enjoy!”

Favourite library: Rosemount – “I don’t check out any book.”

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