Starving artists no more

Book released this week in Bowser aims to help society's needs

Ken Kirkby (left) has a new book Mythography that features a number of local artists including those seen here: (beside Ken) Nana Cook

Ken Kirkby (left) has a new book Mythography that features a number of local artists including those seen here: (beside Ken) Nana Cook

The term “starving artists” is simply a myth that everybody has bought, including artists, and dates back to Vincent van Gogh and the inaccurate portrayal of him as tragic figure.

This is according to local artist Ken Kirkby, who decided he  wants to remove that “starving” stereotype, at least locally.

His first order of business (and certainly not his last) comes in the form of a book called Mythography: paintings by Ken Kirkby & Friends, poetry by Manolis.

“I’ve been listening to and watching artists on our island and mostly what I hear has been the great unhappiness,” he said.

Artists need to get themselves out there in a much larger way than many are aware of or know how to deal with, he said.

Instead of competing with other artists and galleries, they are competing with the likes of the Rolling Stones the Vancouver Canucks and Walt Disney, he said, so artists need to work together and make themselves known.

This was his thinking when he brought together a team of artists from the local area, as well as Courtenay, Campbell River and Vancouver and a Greek poet and publisher from White Rock, named Manolis to make this book. The result is a visually stunning group of artwork each complimented by a poem that successfully “gets into the skin” of each piece artwork, Kirkby said.

All royalties from the sale of the books will go the Nile Creek Enhancement Society (NES), a nonprofit organization recognized nationally for its efforts restoring salmon numbers. Over 20 years the group has helped return 20 million salmon fry  to the ocean.

“What we have is a rebirth of the river,” Kirkby said, “we are now looking at numbers of fish returning and are getting somewhere close to historical numbers,” Kirkby said, adding the group is listed as one of the most successful in the world of its kind.

Many other projects are in the works based on the work at NES, including a major film and a large graphic book.

A book launch for Mythography will happen at the Sandbar Cafe in Qualicum Bay on Wednesday, August 8 at 1:30 p.m. with plenty of books to purchase and the artists on-site to chat and do signings.

The same day in the same location another of Kirkby’s projects will take flight where renowned sculptors will come together to become better recognized while helping put Bowser on the map.

The artists are being sponsored by many merchants in the area and the idea is to eventually have numerous public sculptures throughout the Bowser area, drawing people from far and wide.

It will begin at the Sandbar Cafe this year with four sculptors gathering on August 8 and creating pieces from early morning to evening on August 9,10 and 11.

More information on this sculpting event will be in The News Tuesday, July 31 edition.


The Sandbar Cafe is located at 6087 W Island Hwy.