Ian King is a multimedia artist, designer, and community organizer based in Newark, NJ. Much of his body of work is made through collaging and transferring images onto acrylic-based paintings, creating a personal time capsule in his stark, illustrative style of portraiture. He is interested in using nontraditional techniques and objects to tell stories about people whose stories never get told in public arenas. Drawing from his lived experience as a transgender man, brushes with chronic illness, and a wealth of inspiration from other outsider artists, King fills in the blanks and presents sensitive information in a way that commands attention. His work’s tender sensibilities stem from his fascination with all things antiquated or forgotten, and his concern for the erasing of history.
Raised in Bergen County, King obtained a BFA in Illustration from St. John’s University in 2022. While matriculated at St. John’s he worked as a mutual aid organizer – focusing on the issue of food insecurity with the radical love free store group. This informed much of his work’s direction, upon seeing firsthand how much data and how many voices get suppressed by the larger institutions of society. King’s work has been exhibited throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Recent highlights include Gallery Aferro in Newark, the Art Alliance of Monmouth County in Red Bank, SMUSH Gallery and Novado Gallery in Jersey City, the Yeh Art Gallery in Queens, and Essex County’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Building. He maintains a studio as part of the residency program at Gallery Aferro and is a past grant recipient of the City of Newark’s Creative Catalyst Fund.