KEN MOORE (b.1949)
Born and raised in Southside Chicago, Ken Moore developed a love of drawing early on as a child. “I looked forward to Sunday because that was the day my father wore a suit and tie and a white shirt from the Chinese laundry on 43rd St. Each shirt was packaged with a thin piece of cardboard. One side was very glossy white, the other side was very dull grey…the cardboard was mine to use as I pleased. The cheap cardboard may as well have been a sheet of expensive Strathmore drawing paper…”
While attending community college in Chicago, he met Doreen, who “has been my friend and wife for almost fifty years.” Submitting work to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. Moore was accepted and spent several semesters under the instruction of Ray Yoshida. Meanwhile with a family on the way, Moore began “working hard to be a promising young banker. It was suits and ties by day. By night it was all about painting and learning. It was both exhausting and invigorating.”
Moore and his family relocated to Los Angeles in 1973, where he secured a position as assistant to the head of movie production budgeting at Columbia Pictures. By 1984 he’d produced several art exhibits and sold some of his work, but it wasn’t ever enough to maintain the family’s livelihood. By 1998, he’d been promoted to and held a position as Manager of Television and Studio Accounting with Columbia.
Being a passionate and knowledgable enthusiast of Jazz, Moore left Columbia Pictures in the late 1990’s to open a Jazz & gourmet coffee bistro, the Howling Monk, where he produced hundreds of Jazz concerts. Although he chose not to exhibit his own work at Howling Monk, the venue was host to several other artist exhibitions.
Moore closed that business several years ago to dedicate himself exclusively to his painting and has found a wide and enthusiastic audience for his work through social media. His paintings are often like rich semi-Cubist mosaics landscapes – poignantly woven expressions of his personal experiences of being a black man in America; the culture, history, and myths of the African and African-American people; the African Diaspora; Jazz music and its creators; romantic love and his love of family. His palette is rich and colorfully multi-layered, or when the mood of the painting calls for it, consisting of more somber, subdued tones.