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Distinguished Speaker Series. Steve King: The Art of Parades

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Custom House

281 Front Street

Key West, FL 33040

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Join us at the Custom House for a presentation from the King of parades. Like Stanley Papio, the parade's namesake, Steve King is an outsider artist that has left his mark on the Key's community through his social commentary. Over the past 15 years, his creations have featured in the annual Fantasy Fest Parade, often placing or winning the event. His spectacular Steam Punk contraption in 2016 and Sailing Boat in 2017 helped catapult the Papio Kinetic Parade into the nations eye.
What is so compelling about King and longtime collaborator Rick Kieth's commitment to their art is the selfless approach to conceptualizing and designing a focus piece while providing workshops for parade participants to create costumes to compliment the float. The workshops became social events creating assembly line costume creations that would draw a large and visually stunning crowd of participants. Their team's winning float "Flight of Plutonians" was a paradoy on the downgrading of Pluto to a dwarf planet. Up to 250 members of the community assembled at King's Stock Island studio in the evenings leading up to the 2007 parade to create elaborate costumes that were designed to accompany the award-winning float. Other floats of note include "Attack of the Killer Alien Elvis Clones," "Intergalactic News Network," and "Invasion of the Lion Fish.
King's community interaction does not stop at float building. Using found objects and parts sourced from labs he has created an interactive piece called the "Brain Scan." Dressed as a mad scientist King carries the elaborate apparatus to community events and takes images of peoples "brains" and "energy." This type of performance art is designed to evoke a myriad of questions and conversations from participants.
While King is recognized as a community artist, he is in demand as a houseboat builder. His environmentally friendly boats have been featured on several TV shows. Most recently "My Floating Home" on the FYI network called attention to the ShantyCat, a unique tiny floating home that can access sandbars and fishing grounds.



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Custom House

281 Front Street

Key West, FL 33040

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