“Chairabundus” by Ken KetchumChairs by artists who donated their time and materials in support of this event were displayed in locations around Ganges before the Chair-ity Dinner and Auction on May 21st &22nd which raised $45,000. The Auction at Historic Mahon Hall was a spectacular event. Our own renowned arts community mingled, enjoying savoury appetizers served with wine from Salt Spring Winery whilst celebrity MC and Auctioneer duo Sid Filkow and Arvid Chalmers led the auction. A sold out dinner for sixty was held the night before at Hastings House. Here’s an interview with one of the artists Ken Ketchum. Questions by Megan Manning:
M: What first inspired you to become an artist?K: As far back as I can remember I have been interested in designing things. When I was a young boy, (8 or 9), our local Sunday paper would have a weekly floor plan of a top home design. I would clip out the article and then redesign the plans in my own way. No doubt these exercises helped me develop my sense of space and composition, and a passion for drawing. M: Would you tell a story about one of your first artistic experiences?
K: I moved out of my parents home when I was 18. I moved a few miles away in our small conservative town to an apartment building full of artistic types. They called them freaks and odd balls then, this was 1966. One guy there was a little more unusual than the rest. Mike was into performance art. One day he decided to see if he could kick a dime a mile… he did it. The next thing he did was to dress up in aluminium foil from head to toe and walk around the neighbourhood …He got arrested. He was the first performance artist I ever met. Mike was funny and fearless, and taught me a few things about the power and importance of taking chances with artistic expression and seeing things in a different way.M: What do you say ‘yes’ to in your artistic life?
K: I say yes to spending lots of money on art supplies and equipment. Sometimes I spend more than I have. I say yes to going out of my way to visit a museum or gallery when I am travelling. M: When it gets difficult, what makes you keep going?
K: There are always difficulties. What keeps me going is the knowledge that things always get better. Just like the weather M: What other artists inspire you? Why?
K: Because of my early experiences with drawing, I became attracted to the early master draftsmen like Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Duerer and Rembrandt. As I matured as an artist, I learned to understand and appreciate painters like Picasso, De Kooning, and the German Expressionists. I try to bring to my photography a passion for expression through composition, colour, texture; a poetic, rather than a journalistic approach M: How did you end up on SaltSpring?
K: My wife and I started coming to Salt Spring in the mid ‘80’s, for yearly summer visits to a friend on Prevost Island. We loved the place, and in 2004 we decided to make Salt Spring our home. M: What do you see as your greatest Challenge as an artist?
K: Probably the greatest challenge is making the time in my work schedule as a carpenter to switch gears and let the creative muse take over. M:What’s the best thing about the art scene on SSI?
K: The best thing is the number of artists and creative folks that are on this small rock. I keep running into really talented people. Artists are a different breed and it makes me feel at home to know some of them.
M: If you had a magic wand, where would you wave it?
K: I would make it possible for more artists to do well financially by doing their art. Make galleries more successful, and patrons more willing to invest in art.This interview was first published in the May 2010 Salt Spring Arts Council newsletter. See the entire news letter here