By Anita Grace –
The paintings of Andrew King have roots. They are rooted in the stories of our past, and the buildings in our neighbourhoods.
“We have a lot of cool history,” explains King. “I’m trying to bring it to the surface so people can appreciate it a bit more.”
As a history buff, it is fitting that King’s home – and the site for his part in the West End Studio Tour (WEST) – backs onto the Sisters of the Visitation Convent that was built in 1880. His paintings and sketches will be displayed on the temporary wall that surrounds the convent and the adjacent construction site.
Having lived in Kitchissippi since 1994, King knows the area well but continues to discover new details about the city and its past. “There is always something interesting,” he says. Many of his paintings depict buildings that have an interesting history as well as architectural form.
From the history of Samuel de Champlain’s discovery of the great oak trees around the park that now bears his name, to the 1920s dance hall at Westboro Beach, King loves exploring our history and using it to inform his work. He carefully plans and sketches out each composition, then uses fine, detailed brushstrokes to apply thin layers of acrylic paint.
The results, rich with detail but minimalist in style, have earned him praise from art curators and fellow artists alike.
Anne House, the owner and curator at Mad Dog Gallery in Prince Edward County where King regularly shows his work, describes his art as “very whimsical but very accurate.”
“He goes one step beyond a typical artist,” she says. She explains that the history behind each painting and the stories that King creates for the characters within them add a unique dimension to his work.
Similarly, fellow WEST artist Lynette Chubb describes King’s work as “a combination of both a meticulous architectural and a comedic cartooning background, resulting in masterful technical detail spiced with an engaging sense of humour.”
“Andrew’s work is very detailed,” agrees another fellow artist, Alison Fowler. “And every piece has a story behind it.”
Fowler and King are a creative couple who are well known in the local art scene. “Alison and Andrew are both talented artists,” says Don Monet, owner and curator of Cube Gallery and the originator of the West End Studio Tour 15 years ago. “They have helped foster a thriving art culture here in the west end.”
This is King’s fourth time participating in WEST, returning to the tour this fall after taking a year off in 2013.
“The tour is a great way for Kitchissippi neighbours to learn about artists in their community,” he says. “It’s a chance to experience art in a casual way.”
For this year, he promises that there will be “something for everyone,” including sketches, paintings and the debut of a new “Ottawa nostalgia” T-shirt design.
For more information visit andrewkingstudio.com or westendstudiotour.ca.
Click here to read profiles of the other artists on the West End Studio Tour.