Monday, October 9, 2017

King Louis' 724 Art Studio in Port Orchard WA

"King Louis." That's J Louis King in Port Orchard, Washington.

Two amazing people: "King" Louis with Alison Arngrim, hamming it up at Sidney Museum in May 2017
I want to spend more time on art, fiction writing, filmmaking, rather than so much on non-fiction and politics. I'm working on that. But before I get to it about Louis and the gallery....

Louis (left) in Studio 724
I had retired last year from over twenty years in IT so that I could spend my time in the arts, in writing, in filmmaking (both in front of and behind the camera; though I do prefer behind, in front is a lot of fun), and whatever else strikes my fancy and whatever I seem to be good at.

I got into tech writing because I enjoyed IT work but also to become a tougher, better and faster writer. My interest in IT faded for me in recent years, in part because of the kinds of nonsense you get on the business side, in part because of a messed up situation in my career that I found myself in. Both of those had killed my interest.

All along I've tried to get my fiction works going but it's been like working two full time jobs. So many times I just missed the mark. Not so much in my writing as in the people I met, connection I'd made. Whenever you find that something is killing you (in my case, IT)... well it's time to do something different.

And now? Now I have all the time possible to dedicate to my art. however I wish to define that. I have to tell you, just as I'd thought it would be all these past feels great! And I've met some fascinating characters and artists.

Back to Louis and the Studio.

Louis is a diverse force of nature. He's had an interesting variety of jobs in his lifetime. He's been a seafood salesman in the Midwest, a chef, a celebrity TV chef, an Amtrak worker, traveling the countryside,  a photographer and a lot of other interesting things. It's been a pleasure getting to know him and his history at events, over beers and in general over time this year.

Louis King, an artist\photographer in his own right
Wherever Louis goes he seems to inspire people. He rails against obstructionism and banality and supports talent and art wherever he can. He's a great benefit to Port Orchard whose residents are lucky to have him. He wants to surround himself with creatives, talent, forward thinkers, movers and shakers and I'm pleased to know him. Even to have found him. As are we all who have met him and been brought under his circle of influence.

Kim's Adult Coloring Book release event
I spent part of the day on September 16th, an enjoyable Saturday at 724 Art Studio in Port Orchard, Washington. There was an artist's book release event, for Kimberly Von Rossum, for her adult coloring book that was a hit. It was put on of course by Louis who is also a volunteer leader working to keep a couple of the local museums going. Including the Sidney Museum a couple of blocks up the hill from 724 which itself is located along the main drag downtown Port Orchard and near to the waterfront.
Studio 724 is next to the Brick House Bar, a historical location it would seem
Louis has been acquiring for the studio a growing variety of artists from the as-yet-unknown (as in very soon both my daughter and her boyfriend who will have works in there and I love their artworks), to the works of the rather famous hanging in his gallery. Louis is also starting up a gallery walk soon, too.
Live music next door at the Brick House. Great burgers there! Love their Jalapeno burger!
Internationally known local artist Max Hayslette is one of the artists in the gallery and probably the best known of the artists currently on display for sale.

Max Hayslette art for sale
Interesting side note, it seems Max used to babysit my daughter when she was younger, in his being friends with her mother and then new step-father (now ex-stepfather). So, thanks Max. Strange how we find these degrees of separation in life, right?

Max Hayslette, seems like a nice guy!
This last Friday night (10/6/17) was Port Orchard's biannual Ladies' Night Out and we had an event at the gallery. Next one I think is in May.

Out front during Ladies' Night Out
I have to say, I had a massively good time.

Artists Aura Stiers (left) and Shelly Wilkerson and, my friend and director Kelly Hughes
I got to meet new people, some locals who wandered in, some who were just curious, some doing some art shopping, as well as some local artists and writers. Myself included. They will be doing more art events and some writer events.They also had a display of costumes for sale which seemed pretty popular. And they have local artist's art on greeting cards for sale.

I got to talk extensively with two of the artists there, both of whom have their art on display. From one of them I had to buy a couple of her greeting cards. Herself a gallery owner, Shelly Wilkerson owns Crazy Lady on Bay Street, also in Port Orchard down the street a pace, along with her photographer husband, Glen (nice guy too!).

Some of artist Aura Stiers unique and stylized art pieces utilized wood, not covering it up as too many do, rather utilizing the wood's natural grains and growth rings, allowing them to subtly show through enhancing the pieces. She was also wearing some of her art in an amazing looking ensemble that drew praise and remarks from customers and artists throughout the evening.

When does one EVER get to have a greeting card signed by the actual artist whose work is depicted on them? I have a collection of post cards I started when my older sister became a Flight Attendant ("Stewardess" back then) for Northwest Orient (now Delta). She'd send me postcards from around the world, however my most prized possession is one from a friend during my university years from McMurdo Station in Antarctica (got one of THOSE?).

So I simply had to take the opportunity to get a couple of cards signed by the artist! No. Not starting a greeting card collection, though I do have one from those given to me over my life time. "Historians" have trouble throwing historical kinds of things away you see and no, I'm not a hoarder by any definition.
Louis on left, customer with Kelly Hughes and event greeter (seated).
I now have one of my own books at Studio 724 on display (see photo below and Thanks, Louis!). I am happy to say I made some new friends. I'm not an extrovert by any sense of the term, but they did talk to about having my own author event soon. I've never actually had one as I guess I've just been avoiding it.

Some of the costumes for sale on the right
Studio 724 as well as Louis himself, are both in my estimation valuable additions to the local Port Orchard community and businesses.

During a lull in the evening. You can just see my books on the back wall just over the seated gentleman's head
I was there before the Studio started up, back when Kelly Hughes was running another kind of a studio for filmmakers and I hope to be there... not long after it's gone, but rather as long as it exists.

Which I hope for my sake and the community's will be a very long time.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing time at Studio 724 Gallery during Ladies Night Out last Friday! Always something intriguing going on in that space. Highly recommended.