As a Filipino immigrant, Kue King turned to art at a young age when he realized the power it had as a universal language. “Growing up, I was a silent child without a voice, I communicated through art more than through use of language,” says King. “I was identified as Asian, Hawaiian and Native American in my early life, and this set of cultures gave me strength to build a unique understanding of who I was to become. My background inspired me to read about mysticism and spiritual journeys.”
His fascination with nature and balance pushed him to study the new world around him. Instead of veering toward a traditional path of oils or acrylics, King sought mentorship in both blacksmithing and interior design. At the mere age of 23, King orchestrated a one-man show of installation environments, lighting, sculpture and dance in Jacksonville, Florida. This show allowed King to take a leap of faith and relocate to Hawaii to focus on developing his artistic explorations into mastered skills.
“Hawaii is my island sanctuary that fosters and maintains my spiritual development. This is a necessary element of preparation in order to venture into the highly competitive art world. It’s a place I regularly return to, to heal the wounds of travel and urban life,” says King.
The simplicity of wire and the utility of the sacred intersection of line and curve inspires King to build his art. His travels take him to the far reaches of the Earth to explore life, design and architecture. Through his study of design, King seeks to build art that is easy to live with and breaks the cycle of mundane daily chaos into a cycle of tranquility and constant inspiration. King’s collections of work include wire and feather trees, jewelry and studies of nature. His technique of weaving the natural elements of metal and feathers into a larger organism gives a nod to the revitalization of craft and seeks balance in the base elements of nature.
His current Abstract Collection stays true to his aesthetic and vision—using geometric abstractions of stranded metal, reminiscent of trees, electricity and light, to create sculptures of peace and beauty. Each individual wire is shaped and woven by hand to the patterns of nature.
King uses only the finest materials with all his work. In the Abstract Collection, you will find bronze, brass and stainless steel. His silicon bronze is 100 percent pure with zero inclusions, which is common in cast bronze sculpture. His stainless steel is marine-grade and diamond polished to a mirror finish. These sculptures will last centuries, even in harsh outdoor environments.
“When I place work in gorgeous homes, they are transformed into symbolic representations of the collectors’ lives. My work has its own destiny. I have been gifted years of self-exploration with my work and time to create art for art’s sake. Now, I feel that the work is mine through the process alone, and then it’s free to live its own story,” says King.
One of the most unique aspects of King’s work is that the pieces can be used both indoors and outdoors, each sculpture transforming the space it’s in. Whether in the entry or formally above a fireplace, these sculptures hold a presence that shifts to the occasion. When spotlighted, drama and strength dominate through reflection and shadow. By lowering the lighting, the same piece becomes soft and alluring. Throughout the day, dancing with changing light, each sculpture transforms with a range of emotion. Sculptures placed outdoors, on the facade of a building or hanging in a garden setting, feel at home in nature. Made of marine-grade stainless, silicon bronze and brass, these pieces are resistant to corrosion. The bronze and brass pieces grow a rich patina over the years, which adds to their beauty.
“To become an artist is a privilege that few dare to accept. Being a true artist is not simply the act of making art; it is a journey that challenges every aspect of one’s character in order to be the voice of a current culture. I want to be free to create and evolve, to inspire the people that believe in me, and to live in a way that will allow me to flourish,” King says.
Carolina Ramirez Herrera is an artand design-obsessed travel and lifestyle writer, who often contributes to blogs, city guides and lifestyle publications, sharing a page from her little Black Book of personal travels. Based in Miami but usually on a plane, follow her on @Lacarolinda.