She may not be the “King B” as Beyonce boldly refers to herself with her latest single “Best Thing I Never Had”; rather, Jenny King became a "king" by marriage. But much like the kingly estates of yesteryear, King’s goodwill in the arts reaches far and wide throughout the small kingdom in which she lives–Marietta.
Born in Hollywood, Md., King relocated to Marietta with her family when she was about six. She cannot recall anything in particular from her family that sparked her later interest in the arts, but her creative expression did come forward.
“I guess I found ways of still expressing myself [as a teenager]; I was always cutting my clothes to fit my own style or cutting my hair in different ways,” King says of her experimental years.
King did what felt natural for her. She says her parents always imparted with her and her siblings to be independent thinkers and doers, something that’s never left her to this day.
King says she was not the “classroom” type nor would the corporate arena be a fit for her as she could not function well in those environments. Instead, King chose to work a variety of jobs from hospitality to bartending in an effort to keep the bills paid.
“I just knew there was no way I was going to sit in an office,” King says of her employment choices over the years, which eventually led her to her dream job.
At the ripe young age of 27, King received a gift certificate from her parents for a drawing class at Kennesaw State University’s Continuing Education program. A little apprehensive about going back into a class setting, King overcame her reservations and found the class inspired a new awakening in her spirit.
“There’s a whole other world out there I had no idea about,” King says she tells her students about her own discovery of art. She needed a moment of self discovery, she said, to give a bit of separation from family life and being a stay-at-home mom.
King admits she is not a formally trained artist but by comparison feels empowered. She perceives her "lack" of training as something that gives her an edge and a fresh eye. In contrast, she acknowledgees formally trained artists have the knowledge of all the components necessary to create art but may fall short in their ability to take creative risks.
“I think my lack of an arts background makes me relatable to other people who may not be steeply versed in the arts either,” says King of her fans and enthusiasts.
One class led to another and before long King found herself behind the canvass painting until her heart was content. Her initial paintings found a home as gifts for family and friends–all of whom encouraged her to begin selling her work.
So, King enrolled as a participant in Smyrna’s Jonquil Festival as a vendor. She had high hopes of selling her paintings to local townspeople who appreciated original art; however, what she found was perhaps just the opposite. There were not many purchases, as well as she found much of her art got damaged. The effort was short-lived.
Instead, King decided to seek out a space for developing her own studio – a haven away from home. She rented space at the old Marietta Station, now called , and named her space simply The Studio. She later moved to Marietta Square for greater visibility where she now offers classes and showcases the work of Mandie Aberra and Philip Myrick, paying tenants.
King wants to offer opportunities to both aspiring and established artists whose work may not have a home. She does this by having a dedicated space in her studio she calls her "Friends Wall" where the work of anyone in the community with a passion for the arts can be displayed.
“Art is very personal, it’s hard to put it out there,” she says identifying with the fears many artists have of exposing their work for rejection.
“I really like giving back, it’s what I love to do,” says King of her support to many local nonprofits, foundations and schools. King describes her commitment to helping others as the fuel behind her passion. She finds joy in giving young people, teenagers in particular, advice on finding careers in the arts. King admits she has an uncanny ability to draw shy introverts out of their shells helping them realize their identities, just as she once did.
Constantly pushing the creative envelope, King’s latest work explores the medium of encaustic and mixed media–where King says she is given freedom from the empirical boundaries of oil paint. Her latest work, a series of paintings titled "Secrets," uses mixed media with newspaper, oil and acrylic paints. She weaves multiple themes together in her paintings with subliminal messages strategically peeping through thin coatings of paint.
For more on Jenny King, you can visit her studio at: J. King Artworks, 48 South Park Square; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 678.485.0361.