Aurora King

As a child growing up in the Los Angeles suburbs Aurora King spent many hours drawing. By the age of seven, when she would need spending money, Aurora would go knocking on neighbors' doors, offering for sale her sketches of people for nickels and dimes. Her father had a sign business and, growing up, Aurora and her sister, also an artist, would be put to work whenever any pictorial images were needed to accompany his lettering. Her father also arranged for Aurora and her sister to study with Tovar, a well known artist, who taught in Los Angeles in the l950's.

After high school Aurora enrolled in Woodbury College but found the art program focused too narrowly on commercial art, and did not encourage her originality, so she dropped out after the first year and began doing portraits as a street artist. Over the years, from l965 to l974, she perfected her skill at portraits in both pastel and oil while traveling alone all across the United States. When she returned to Los Angeles in 1974 she was offered a job in the garment industry by a manufacturer who saw her portraits and wanted to introduce fine art into a line of upscale clothing. For three years Aurora served as conceptual artist and then Art Director of that company, Antonio Guiseppe, Inc., with a staff of up to nine artists providing unique apparel for wealthy clients and celebrities such as Neil Sedaka, Charley Pride, Liberace, William Conrad, Donny and Marie Osmond, Telly Savales, Evil Knievil, and others. During this time she taught portrait and life drawing classes at her home studio. One of the artists she had hired during this period, George Aldrete, was a muralist and in 1977 she and George started a full time mural company, "Illusions", and painted commissioned murals in homes and businesses. Although their careers took them in different directions after two years, they still collaborate on murals, with the most recent collaboration that of a Raphael-style mural for a restaurant in Costa Mesa in 2001.

In 1979 Aurora was hired as Art Director of Kelvin Internationale, the largest silkscreen company in Los Angeles at that time. It was there that she developed her expertise in the various methods of reproducing art, with a complete darkroom at her disposal and a staff of artists. She provided many innovative concepts for silkscreen (serigraphy) over the next five years and hundreds of original designs. Throughout those years she continued to teach portrait and life-drawing classes, and maintained a studio for painting and drawing.

Because she is opposed to the idea of competition in art, Aurora had never entered competitions, but while exhibiting at Pavillion Fine Art Gallery in Dana Point, that gallery persuaded her to enter the Orange County Savor the Arts Competition in 1984 and her silverpoint etching "The Chessplayer" took first place.

In 1985 Aurora made a change back to the full time world of fine art and opened her own gallery in Laguna Beach, on Pacific Coast Highway. There she offered her art in original and serigraph form, as well as portraits, murals, and she moved her portrait and life-drawing classes to the Laguna Beach location.

In 1987 she married and together with her husband Doug Parrish, a designer and manufacturer of architectural canvas, she moved to Sonora, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills and opened King Parrish Canvas and Graphics. From that company Aurora branched out to open a retail gallery and artwear shop, Ma Boheme, and, later she added a Café, a gathering place for local artists, writers and poets. She later wrote a three act play "Suite Insanity Café", based on that experience.

In 1997 Aurora's mother, who had moved from Los Angeles to Hawaii, was experiencing serious heart problems and at age eighty could no longer be on her own. Aurora moved to Hawaii very suddenly in response to a medical emergency and took care of her mother. Inspired by being in Hawaii, she began to paint in earnest again.

Aurora painted The Goddess Pele, local street scenes, florals, landscapes, murals, abstracts, and has designed and produced a line of small art tables.

In 2013, Aurora took over ownership of the Cliff Johns Gallery, in Kealakekua, Hawaii. The original owner, Cliff Johns, a friend of Aurora's, was a wood turner. At the time, the gallery featured mostly wood artists. She invited other artists to show and sell their art in the gallery. As Aurora liked to say, the gallery featured "over twenty award winning wood artists." With the addition of the other artists' work, the gallery also featured oil, acrylic, watercolor, ceramic, glass and the work of many jewelry artists.

Aurora lived in Hawaii, on the Big Island, for 23 years. She died of heart failure on Friday, July 31, 2020. She is missed by her many friends, artists and family.