XENIA — Kraig King became creative at an early age.
When he was just 5-years-old, his parents caught him drawing on a bathroom wall. From that point on, the Xenia native was deemed an “artist” by his family. Years later, King — a 1983 graduate of Xenia High School — is still drawing. But instead of walls inside his home, King’s art is appearing on the walls of Yellow Springs Brewery.
Officially a “mixed media artist,” King is featuring paintings of a variety of topics including social justice and music.
“I am currently working on a series of famous jazz musicians from the early 1900s until today,” King said. “It is an ongoing project. I have about eighteen frame prints on display at Yellow Springs Brewery. I have four social justice pieces on display.”
Included in his portfolio is a portrait of comedian and Yellow Springs resident Dave Chappelle, and “Daddy Changed The World,” a thought-provoking piece on George Floyd, whose death in 2020 led to protests around the country.
“This mixed media painting is a time capsule to the climate of today’s social and racial injustices,” King said. “To experience this on video and to hear the witnesses speak on the the atrocity going on before their own eyes is heart wrenching. We cannot move forward as a nation until we address the issue of racial injustice.”
Like many in the arts and entertainment world, King uses his work to make a statement.
“I see art as a platform to bring issues to life and light,” he said. “My art conveys realism mixed with surrealism, bringing about what I describe as ‘fantasy art.’ I divulge myself in art in order to bring light to situations that are important enough to be remembered. As I go through my journey, I would like for others to be inspired as well as intrigued to explore where art can take them,” King said.
After graduating from XHS, King went to the Columbus College of Art and Design. Eventually, he attended Central State University and then moved to Long Beach, Calif. In Long Beach, he attended Brooks College. Since 2013, King has been an active professional in the LA art scene.
“I have been an artist pretty much all of my life,” King said. “In 2012, I had a major surgery. It took me away from my job in HIV prevention with the County of Los Angeles. I could not go back to work. Therefore, I decided to put all of my energy into my art.”
This past May, a family issue brought King back to Xenia, which led to his art display at the brewery. He plans on going back to Los Angeles in February 2021 to continue his art career.
King’s work will be displayed in Yellow Springs through Dec. 20.
Reach Darryl L. McGee at 937-502-4534