By: John Holt
For local artist Joshua King, a childhood summer family vacation proved to be life-changing. Visiting his aunt in Amarillo at age nine, King was taken to Cadillac Ranch, a public art installation and sculpture featuring 10 Cadillacs (1949-63) planted nose-first into the ground.
“When I saw Cadillac Ranch, it was kind of a spark in me,” King said. “It showed me art can go anywhere.”
The life-defining moment for King was one in which he acknowledges he became a creative spirit. Another similar moment occurred six years later, when his mother purchased him a Ricoh camera and he began taking up photography. Photography, he notes, was his gateway entry into the arts.
Today, having completed countless sculptures and constantly working to improve his craft, King is preparing to introduce one of his newest projects at Good Shepherd Episcopal School’s Festival of the Arts*. With an art installation set to be on display, the project, titled The Line Projects: I am more than what you see will immediately become part of the Good Shepherd school curriculum.
“The hope and goals with this (Line Projects) is in the end, the students, the school, and myself will have created a curriculum by understanding the right and wrong choices and moments of your life, can lead you forward and actually make you stronger in who you are today,” King said.
The project will teach students about lines, two-point perspective, how to draw using rulers, horizon lines and more. Students will create their own lines, portraying their life / family history and the project will range from pencil on paper, on-site tape murals to a large-scale installation across the courtyard of Good Shepherd’s campus. King envisions the project serving as a way for students to understand how to express themselves.
“There’s this social-emotional healing process to the project where we want the students and families of students to reflect on the most important choices and moments of their life,” King said. “Reflection is a big aspect to the project. There’s multiple aspects we are looking at and hoping it fulfills for our students and communities.”
The idea of the I am more than what you see Line Projects transpired in 2015 when King’s wife informed him that she was pregnant. “When she told me that we were going to have a child, I got this great sense of mortality and dread of maybe my son now knowing who I was,” King said. “I lost my father when I was only two and had this hole in my upbringing of not knowing who that father figure was due to the circumstances of our family.”
King then began listing significant moments and choices from his life, which ultimately resulted into the evolution of the project. For him, there were roughly 60 life moments he documented and put onto paper.
“Life isn’t linear,” King said. “It doesn’t go straight across from start to finish. I started thinking about all the right and wrong choices I’d made in my life. What were the good and the bad? I’ve really come to the conclusion the bad decisions and the wrong choices have been just as important as all the right choices I’ve made.”
King states while Good Shepherd is the first school adapting The Line Projects, he’s confident others will follow suit. Whether they do or not, he knows there are several opportunities to visit different and new communities to start engaging art and culture where there normally hasn’t been a focus.
“I’m excited about coming (to Festival of the Arts) in April and installing the (art) piece in the courtyard and to see how all the kids draw their own lines,” King said. “I’m sure it will be a learning moment for me as well. It’s a great thing seeing how other people interpret their (life) story and how they interpret documenting their life.”
Meet King and learn more about The Line Projects: I am more than what you see by attending the Festival of the Arts on Thursday, April 21st at 6 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Episcopal School courtyard. To learn more about King’s art, visit his website here.
*The Festival of the Arts is a Good Shepherd tradition, occurring every two years, displaying current student artwork. Students create pieces in several mediums such as paint, clay, and textiles.