Artistic wizard Ken Scott brings his dreamy sculpted creations in steel to a new Imagination Gallery in downtown Sisters. Story by Jeff Spry
Like something out of Harry Potter’s wonderful world, Scott’s fanciful conjurings evoke metallic fixtures and home decor from another, more romantic age, steeped in Victorian gothic flair and injected with one frighteningly wild imagination.
“It’s Captain Nemo meets Luke Skywalker,” Scott joyously exclaimed, welcoming visitors to his extraordinary exhibition. “It’s where the past meets the future. My art is very difficult to label and pinpoint. Preserving and recognizing originality is something more people need to understand.”
Setting up his downtown gallery in the Hood Avenue spot vacated by DonTerra Artworks, Scott hustles around his new building with boundless energy. Imagination Gallery is a captivating showcase of towering outdoor pavilions, ornate chandeliers, lyrical lamps and gleaming steel-cut wall landscapes.
“I’m a self-taught artist, never took a class in my life. Anytime I sell something I reinvest it right back into the art. My whole picture is about inspiration and motivation. I’ve found something that held my interest long enough to get good at it.”
Baptized into the beauty of Scott’s realm, observation becomes the prerequisite for graduating beyond his basic Art 101 curriculum.
“To observe is to grow,” he mused. “Inspiration gets you started but deadlines make you finish. No project is ever truly done.”
Scott has lived over in the Willamette Valley for 30 years, where he raised a family and managed a successful gallery.
“I’ve always wanted to be over here in Sisters. I love this country and decided I’d do anything to be here.”
During the Sisters Folk Festival, Scott entertained wary evening music lovers by lighting his rusted metal garden arch’s miniature blackened rhino, erected on the gallery’s side lawn.
But Scott’s metal menagerie is not restricted to lamps and garden art. Sprinkled on the green grass outside is a 12-foot-tall steepled gazebo, vintage tractor seat chairs, scrap metal firepits and an American Eagle chariot crafted in his exuberant signature style.
Scott still resides in Leaburg, where his workshop and home are, presently commuting back and forth to the gallery in Sisters.
“I’ll transition my studio to Sisters, eventually having two workshops. I’ll have an outdoor workshop behind the gallery where people can observe the work and not disturb the artist.”
Scott started out in tough circumstances, insurmountable for some people, but when fate fortuitously tossed him into metal work it became the perfect therapy.
“I haven’t designed my life very well, but in this pursuit of art I’ve found the doors to many things I could have done, but keep returning to my metal work and art. These lamps are not just lamps, they’re jewelry for your home.”
In a sublime marriage made in Heaven, the difficult medium of metal perfectly meets Scott’s gruff, malleable personality.
“It’s aggressive and it’s hot and it’s brutal. I feel the metal has produced mettle in my life, bringing enlightenment and discipline.”
That precious elixir of discipline is front and center in Scott’s life, revealed in every glint and glimmer of his fiercely original work.
One of the premier pieces in his collection is a fairytale Cinderella chariot made from hammered steel and further adorned with vintage farm implements and old scavenged auto parts.
This trailblazing artist plans to bring the impressive carriage to Sisters for his grand opening next Spring where it will be a prime feature and majestic fixture of Ken Scott’s Imagination Gallery.
The convoluted formula for what keeps the infernos of creative fire burning for Scott is a complicated one, best left to its own mystery.
“Creativity is all about showing up,” he said. “Inspiration is easy but sweat comes hard. Art is such an intensely personal endeavor, to do it my way and to have a communication with an audience. It’s about the love of my work and the love of life.”
Ken Scott’s Imagination Gallery
222 West Hood Ave., Sisters