Ken Gerberick





Ken Gerberick was an eclectic artist, automotive historian, and collector. Already an artist in childhood, Ken trained at Forest Park College of Art in his hometown of St Louis, Missouri. From being an actual Haight Street hippie in San Francisco to brave anti-war hero, he fled his own country and settled on Vancouver Island in 1969. Living in the Comox Valley for 15 years, Ken created art and was highly active in the local art and music scenes. Ken studied under his mentor Jack Wise at the Victoria School of Art. Over 7 years he built a “forest installation” including a house, several outbuildings, and 25+ antique cars and parts reminiscent of the Ozark landscapes he had loved and drawn as a child. Many cars are now covered in rust and moss and returning to Mother Earth. Moving to Vancouver in 1984, Ken had an amazing studio at on West Hastings, lost due to fire in 2004. Supported, honoured, and celebrated by friends in the art community with a “Kenfest” fundraiser, he started all over again at the age of 60 at Hungry Thumbs Studio on Main Street, and after renoviction, moved to the Sun Wah BCA in Chinatown, where he continued creating art and collecting throughout his life.

A prolific artist with an extensive and diverse CV, Ken was accomplished in jewelry design, detailed drawing, painting, silverpoint, calligraphy, collage, sculpture, assemblage, and installation. Through thoughtful and meaningful juxtaposition, Ken used “found and recycled materials” such as old glass, mirrors, metal, old jewelry, rust, toys, pieces of car emblems, wood, wire, photos, paper, broken taillights, neon, hubcaps, and other car related treasures and antiques. As a committed environmentalist, he believed in recycling and reusing everything possible, often citing that, in his work, “the medium WAS the message.” Ken was well known for his art lamps, “industrial stained plastic” sculptures, assemblage art, and his chrome and neon art, from individual works to annual winter window displays at Main Street studio to shipping container art collaborations at the Pacific National Exhibition. Ken was authentic, playful, kind, generous, and helpful.

Adapted from Eastside Culture Crawl, 2021

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