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Meet Kellan King of Monte Vista Projects

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kellan King.

Kellan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up at the beach here in Los Angeles County, and I feel like I spent most of my time there as a kid. It’s made me a little bitch about the weather, but it also shaped my view of the world; uniquely aware of the delineations between rural and urban.

The affluent and religious neighborhood I grew up in was, in contrast to the blue-color nature of my family. While my neighbors’ kids had high-end toys: go-carts, playhouses built by contractors, stock in Hasbro; I had lemonade stands, bear-hunts with my dad, treehouses made of spare plywood, and a garage that someone should have kept a better eye on. Early on, I idealized the idea of building and instead of cartoons, I was watching Bob Villa’s This Old House on after school.

Once I got to high school, I was able to enroll in architecture which gave a purpose to my passion. I loved the materiality of the vellum, tape, erasers, guides, and pencils. Any architect in the 21st century will tell you they use none of those. The wholly digital process in a junior college architecture program cleanly divorced me of the idea of becoming a draftsman, but I did love the process of design, specifically modelmaking.

After a career in native-habitat-restoration that lasted four years which included the Redondo Beach bluffs restoration, I returned to school with a focus on the fine arts. I immediately saw sculpture as a bridge between my near-obsession to build and my histories of architecture and botany.

Attending CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Northridge for my BA and MFA, respectively, I developed a practical arts skill-set and an attunement to my own theoretical and conceptual place within the Los Angeles arts community.

My artistic expression focuses on the home more specifically. I’m interested in the plot-of-earth we call our own; it’s history, materials, sense of ownership, visual language, and relationship to the natural world. A profound sense of being unmoored from home brings me to analyze my relationship with sites that serve as my anchorage. Wood, plastics, bronze, and cement serve as units within novel aggregations and contexts; proposing new perceptual realities between orange and subdivision, peacock and plastic, material and history, and object and artist.

These potentials suggest that the delineations we draw between a part and its whole are false when the scale of systems is addressed. Rather, a cell may exist as a constituent of an oak tree but also retains its singularity as a unit. I prioritize equality among objects by addressing the scale of systems without subjugating or dividing them.

Has it been a smooth road?
As a kid, and following my father, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It was always an abstract concept until, as an adult, I started dating. I didn’t come out until I was 20, and female relationships had been on autopilot; actual relationships and of course sex with men, confused and focused my propensity for infatuation.

Likewise, addiction has had a steady hand in my development. First used to disassociate from my inevitable sexuality, and later to steady an active but anxious mind. Sober from drugs since 2001, I have since redirected that energy into my scholastic achievements, professional development, and artistic practice.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Monte Vista Projects – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Monte Vista Projects is a Los Angeles based artist-run collective established in 2007. Through exhibitions, lectures, events, and performances, MVP strives to question existing standards that emerge from academia and contemporary art institutions.

Monte Vista Projects collaborates with local, national, and international artist-run spaces. We prioritize working with under-represented artists to broaden access to artistic discourse.

As the internship coordinator, I work on the recruitment and instruction of interns in contemporary curatorial and artistic practices. Myself a product of the Cal State system, I prioritize students from universities’ with lesser known programs and working-class backgrounds.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Growing up at the beach and spending my undergrad years in Long Beach I definitely appreciate the escape from land that the ocean offers most of all. As a more recent resident of the San Fernando Valley, I’ve come to appreciate wide boulevards and easy parking. To reflect on Los Angeles as a whole: rent sucks, traffic sucks, quit moving here.

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