For every time a parent tells their child they won’t make a living with art or music, there’s a success story to prove them wrong. Meet Marathon resident Krystal King, an Ocean Blue Galleries featured artist.
King and her husband moved to Marathon 10 months ago, but a move to the Keys has been their goal since 2012. “We honeymooned here and fell in love with it. We kept joking about moving here and wanting to sail.” Last year, that “joke” became a reality. “We were coming down for our annual vacation, and we told our Realtor that if she could sell our house, we’d move to the Keys.” Sure enough, the house sold, and the Kings became Marathon’s newest live-aboard sailing residents.
As with many, King’s fascination with art began at a young age, but not in a typical way. “I was orphaned at an age when it’s tough to get adopted, so out of loneliness or necessity I started drawing.” When she was adopted at the age of 10, her adoptive grandmother, a professional artist, taught her to watercolor. “She saw some creativity in me, and really fostered that.”
King continued with watercolors and charcoal drawings as a teenager and initially pursued music as a career, but after entering the University of Colorado Springs at 16, her passion for piano and trombone burned out within a few years. She entered the Air Force in 2014, but an injury forced an early exit just two years later. As she described, painting and drawing quickly drew her back as a way to deal with PTSD and depression. “I judged myself for the way I played piano, but I never judged myself for my art. It was always just a form of expression.”
Today, Krystal is an art dealer for the Wyland art gallery in Key West. Acting as a liaison between customer and artist, she helps interested parties find the perfect pieces for their homes or describe their needs for a brand new commission. However, her independent artwork has begun to draw attention on its own. She was recently notified that her work will be added to Ocean Blue Galleries in St. Petersburg, Florida. Home to many world-renowned artists, the gallery is the only one featuring Jim Carrey’s work. “(Founder) Jay Shaffer called me and said, ‘Welcome to the Ocean Blue family. We were told we’d be stupid not to pick up your work.’”
King focuses on acrylic impressionist pieces with thick and heavy paint strokes. Known as impasto, the thick layering gives an almost three-dimensional look to an otherwise two-dimensional piece. She enjoys working in other media and even using her skills in detailed portraits, but one theme ties all her pieces together. “From medium to medium, my work may change in style, but the one thing that stays the same is the bright vivid colors. They always made me happy.”
King hopes that her story and art can give strength and inspiration to others going through similar struggles. “I’ve learned that if you chase opportunities, they’ll lead you to your dreams. Everyone should have a way to take care of their soul. For me, that’s art.”
For more on King’s work or to get in touch, visit her Instagram page at @krystalekingart or look for her soon on www.oceanbluegalleries.com.