You could call him the Candy Man. A fine artist who paints appealing confections with many layers of meaning, Kent Christensen sells his work at a gallery in London, at Williams Fine Art in Salt Lake City, and splits his time between a small apartment in New York City and a stunning, light-filled home he built at Sundance five years ago. Not a bad life for someone who does things like the Spiral Jetty in saltwater taffy as a 6-foot oil. He sold that to a client in Chicago but keeps a smaller version in his Utah home.
To appreciate the irony of that picture you have to make some associations. Christensen is LDS and believes sugar is “Mormon heroin” – a should-be subsidiary to strong drink and tobacco as a vice in the LDS lexicon. And he thinks the concept of vast overconsumption of sweet stuff applies to society at large – not only to Americans supersizing every Coke they order but also to the current financial crisis as well. And, he says, “In the art world, when you mention Utah, people immediately think of the Spiral Jetty.” So, there’s saltwater (the “Great” Lake wherein the Jetty sits) and taffy. And “Sweet“ Candy Co. that makes the sticky stuff which is usually sold in “bulk.” It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – you can go on and on.
This month Kent Christensen will be moving his Sundance studio to The Leonardo for a 2 week residency. Read our full artist profile in the November 2011 edition of 15 Bytes.