Thursday Q&A with artist Andrew King

Andrew King sports his going-out clothes while showing off his vintage automobile. (Photo by Kathleen Wilker; photo in blue shirt by Connor Roach)

Born in Kingston, Ontario, Andrew moved to Ottawa in 1991 to study Industrial Design at Carleton University and pursue a career in automotive and entertainment design. After three years in the ID program, Andrew switched studies to Algonquin College where we graduated with Honours from the television animation program in 1996, and soon after began a career in the television industry. In 2003, Andrew decided to try painting where he combined his design skills, animation background and a unique brand of humour. His works vary from contemporary landscapes to almost graphic cartoon-style images. Influenced and inspired by his travels, vintage advertising art and Prince Edward County, his work evokes both humour and emotion through minimalism, lighting and colour.

OCS: Who are your style icons?

AK: Day-to-day wear: Steve McQueen. Simple, clean, and solid. Going out: James Bond. Classy, and ready to take on the next adventure.

OCS: What’s on your bedside table?

AK: Notepad and pen

OCS: Best home accessory?

AK: A model sailboat my grandfather built in the 1920s that sits on the fireplace mantel.

OCS: Best recent fashion find?

AK: A vintage 1963 London-made white dinner jacket that fits perfectly without alteration.

OCS: Whom would you invite for dinner if you could choose anyone in the world?

AK: Designer/director Joe Johnston. He designed all the cool stuff from the original Star Wars films.

OCS: You can see the debut of any piece of music in history. What would it be?

AK: Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd.

OCS: What’s your earliest memory?

AK: Making walnut half-shell boats with my grandmother. We would pour melted wax in the bottom of the shell to secure a toothpick mast with paper sails. We placed an armada of them in puddles.

OCS: Your biggest fashion faux-pas, when, where and how?

AK: My entire grade school years — 1977-1991. Everything. Don’t know how, it just happened, I guess. Maybe I should not have tried to dress like characters from 80s action TV shows.

OCS: Proudest moments?

AK: Getting invited down for an interview and a tour of the entire Lucasfilm studio and facility after years of dateless nights drawing spaceships and sending them to Lucasfilm. I cried when the plane landed in San Francisco. Watching a complete stranger in a coffee shop laugh at one of my comic strips when I had one in the Ottawa Citizen. Walking aimlessly late at night and seeing one of my paintings hanging in some random person’s living room.

OCS: Favourite piece of furniture?

AK: My bed.

OCS: Qualities you most admire in a person?

AK: Integrity, positive, with a sense of adventure and humour.

OCS: For whom would you most like to work?

AK: Disney (now that they bought Lucasfilm) — designing vehicles for the next Star Wars films.

OCS: Describe a perfect day off (it can be anywhere in the world).

AK: Sleeping in at a breezy beach cottage, but not too late. Jumping in for a refreshing swim under sunny skies then a nice, fresh breakfast. Prepping a boat, packing a picnic and sailing off to somewhere I’ve never been before. Enjoying the picnic, swimming and relaxing, then at sunset, sailing back home for a beach bonfire and fireworks.

OCS: Favourite visual artist, living or dead?

AK: Edward Hopper

OCS: Favourite local artist?

AK: There are many great artists in Ottawa, but those downtown sidewalk chalk artists…. They do not get enough credit. Do you know how hard it is to draw with chalk? On the ground even!

OCS: Best book you read in the past year?

AK: Rand McNally World Atlas

OCS: Favourite food?

AK: Hintonburger, fries and a milkshake

OCS: Most-oft-played song on your iPod or MP3 player?

AK: I have phases. Right now, it’s Chemical Brothers “Escape Velocity.”

OCS: Wine, beer or both?

AK: Depends on the occasion. Beer for rollicking good times. Wine for dinner or classy affairs.

OCS: Mac or PC?

AK: Mac all the way. They were designed by aliens to advance civilization like that monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey that taught apes how to use a bone as a tool.

OCS: Fine dining or plain old diners?

AK: Again, depends on the situation. Old diners are always my favourite, but a fine dining establishment is needed for special occasions and dates.

OCS: Best restaurant in Ottawa?

AK: The Wellington Gastropub. Always exemplary food and service that never disappoints.

OCS: Person, place or thing that makes you proudest/happiest you live in Ottawa?

AK: It is not one thing in particular, it is the feeling I have driving my old Volvo east along the River Parkway towards downtown and coming up over the hill, looking at the beautiful city ahead. Stunning both at night and during the day. So much history, surrounded by beautiful buildings in a space full of gorgeous scenery. I get chills seeing that skyline, especially if I have been away from the city for a period of time. Ottawa is a gorgeous, sexy city that I am proud to call home.

OCS: Fave blog or website?

AK: The Onion, Google Maps and Kijiji

OCS: Twitter, Facebook or both?

AK: Twitter! 140 characters are all I can handle. I don’t use Facebook because I don’t have cats or kids to post photos of them on it.

OCS: What’s your guilty pleasure?

AK: Driving somewhat spirited on empty roads in the country. Also: Sleeping in.

OCS: Favourite place to spend time?

AK: Walking anywhere in Ottawa. We are always in a rush and we miss so much by not walking. I love to aimlessly walk around. It is amazing the details of life and a wonderful city that you can see by strolling around.

OCS: How would you like the world to remember you? What would your eulogist ideally say?

AK: That I tried.


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