Touchstones set to lionize late Kootenay legend

Nelson artist Wayne King’s artwork will be featured in four-month exhibition.

Touchstones Nelson will host a four-month exhibition of late artist Wayne King’s work.

Touchstones Nelson’s new curator Arin Fay used to run into the late artist Wayne King and remembers him as a “flirty, sparkly-eyed guy who was always ready to engage you in conversation.”

Transient, white-bearded and Gandalf-like, King was a quintessential Kootenay character. At the time Fay had no idea she would one day be in the position to share his artwork with the world.

“Wayne King is one of those hilarious people who really capture what’s great about this town,” Fay told the Star as she prepared an exhibition of King’s work that will run Nov. 9 to Feb. 12.

Now she’s asking everyone who might have some of King’s work to consider sharing it with her.

“It would’ve been great to have had a show about Wayne while he was still with us,” said Fay. “I think he would’ve enjoyed it, the attention, and getting to strut his stuff. But like a lot of artists he wasn’t especially organized and he wasn’t the most self-promoting artist in the world.”

So even though the recognition is coming a year after he passed away in his 70s, she feels the attention is well-deserved.

“Wayne was one of the most prolific artists in the Kootenays,” King’s friend Dustin Cantwell told the Star in 2015.

“His work was split three ways between landscape paintings, visionary paintings and woodcuts, many of which had little aphorisms for daily life. My favourite was ‘leave no turn unstoned.’”

Memorial Facebook pages have been created and local events have been held to celebrate King’s life, but the Touchstones exhibition will be the most ambitious attempt to lionize him. Fay’s only just started the process of delving into his history and acquiring the work she plans to display.

“He’s just bigger than you even realize, there’s so many different facets to him. I assumed he was homeless, which it turns out wasn’t true. He had this alternative lifestyle and was really supported by the community.”

To many, King was a guru-like figure. His work reached across societal boundaries, according to local jeweller Chris Kölmel.

“He spoke in eloquent and highly imaginative prose, emphasizing the divine light, the magic and energy that fed his passion for art and life. His paintings and woodcuts touched the true beauty of our common landscape and brought that colour and richness into many lives and homes,” he said in 2015.

Fay recently replaced Jessie Demers as Touchstones’ co-curator after Demers moved to Victoria. She retains her other position as curator of the Langham Cultural Centre.

Her job right now is to locate King’s work and find a good representative sample to share with the community.

“The last three people I’ve mentioned [the exhibit] to have one. They either have one or know where one is. Most people in this community have a connection, somehow to his art. His stuff is everywhere.”

She also wants to hear more about how he affected local lives. She’s heard from multiple sources that he was a “sage dude” capable of raising people’s consciousness.

The Nelson Chamber of Commerce should’ve had him on retainer because of the lively energy he brought to town, she said.

“He was that wizard-like guy, out there sharing his wisdom with anyone willing to stop and listen.”

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

Nelson won’t restrict parking amnesty to West Kootenay

So far, more than 800 people have responded with amnesty payments

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read