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BACKSTORY: King of the Eccentrics

BACKSTORY: King of the Eccentrics

I have long been drawn to artists and eccentrics.  There was, though, a time when they scared me, like in the fifth grade when a girl named Jenni showed up at my school wearing red parachute pants, a purple shirt, and five inches of colored paperclips hanging from her ears. She was obsessed with Boy George, and I just didn’t get her. At the time, I was obsessed with convincing my mom to buy me a pair of $50 Guess jeans (which she never would) so I could be like the pretty girls in my class.  Eventually, Jenni and I would become best friends, and it was through her that I first began to appreciate the idea of standing apart.

My own personal rebellions against the status quo have always been based on the examples of someone else’s rebellions.  If my ears had been pierced when I first met Jenni, I too would have hung paperclips from them.  Later, in high school, when my friend (and fashion mentor) Brandy wore black and white striped tights with combat boots and baby doll dresses, I too wore black and white striped tights with combat boots and baby doll dresses.

I did have a period of time when I considered myself eccentric and made fashion decisions based solely on what I thought would fit that image of myself, but mostly, I looked to others for what’s “cool.” And yet, I long considered myself among the artistic and eccentric. The truth is that although I am drawn to them, I have rarely been brave enough to straight up do my own thing – fashion-wise.

And this is why I love and admire Kenny King.

Photo by Kenny King.

Photo by Kenny King.

The first time I met him, I was utterly baffled by his Amish get-up, and I couldn’t stop thinking about who he was and wondering what could possibly be in his mind. I had him in mind for the Vintage Wars story since he works at one of the most popular vintage stores in town.  But the more I talked to him, the more I wanted to know about him, so I took him out of the vintage story and decided to profile him instead.

After spending several hours with him at his job and over coffee, Kenny let me into his home.

One of several altars in Kenny's home.

One of several altars in Kenny’s home.

 

Kenny's collection of vintage rock t-shirts.

Kenny’s collection of vintage rock t-shirts.

 

If I weren't in love already, I would be now.

If I weren’t enamored already, I would be now.

 

The bizarre stained glass fetus Kenny found and decided to keep.

The bizarre stained glass fetus Kenny found and decided to keep.

This sweater takes the cake.  Period.

This sweater takes the cake. Period.

I love this dude.

I love this dude.

Honestly, I expected the mystery of Kenny to end after I saw where (and how) he lives.  I figured once I’d seen his closet, where he sleeps, how he keeps his kitchen, I’d have a full picture.  But Kenny’s eccentricities run deep, and my fascination has only grown.

 

 

Comments

  1. Kelly

    Kenny was a very good friend of mine. I knew him well before I moved to Detroit. He is as you describe him, but also even better. The Kenny I knew was eccentric, yes, but also genuine and passionate. Everything was art to him and when I think of Kenny I think of the hearse-driving, art loving, “stop-shopping” enthusiast who introduced me to a whole new world, and for that I thank him.

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