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Lewis man tried to produce one art piece per day. He didn’t quite make it

Kevin Lambson’s artwork is on display at the Dolores Public Library
Kevin Lambson’s art is on display at the Dolores Public Library through the end of the month. (Kala Parkinson/The Journal)

“Wow, that art is amazing,” Kevin Lambson joked as he strolled into the glass-lined gallery of the Dolores Public Library, effectively introducing himself as the artist behind the myriad creative mediums lining the wall.

As Lambson put it, he would never turn down the opportunity to talk about himself. But as it turns out, he loves talking about others just as much.

While he officially works as a commercial artist, and slips into the world of fine art when he can (he believes the main difference between the two is reliable income), Lambson’s art career really launched by the age of 10.

Much like any fourth grader, Lambson liked to draw, but he wouldn’t say he was any better than the next kid.

It was around the time Star Wars came out, and a classmate asked Lambson to sketch R2D2. It turned into a pivotal moment for the just-born artist.

“In that moment, I self-identified as an artist,” he said. “I'm like, ‘Oh, this must be my thing.’”

His oil creations on display at the Dolores library were the product of a so-called “push” in which he challenged himself to fashion a painting a day for a year.

Sometimes he hides the date or “bad puns” into his paintings.

Lambson leans into his imagination, as evidenced in this painting. Lambson’s sister one day mentioned the phrase “watching your figure.” It replayed in his mind, and surfaced the idea of “watching something like a hawk.” The word “figure” is often abbreviated to “fig” in textbooks, and so he manufactured the concept of “watching your figs like a hawk,” depicted here.

While he didn’t quite meet his 365-piece threshold, a new repertoire of 70 paintings marked the most Lambson had ever created in a year.

Not all were good, he said.

“In fact, most of them aren’t,” he said. “But it's kind of like playing the odds, right?”

The fast pace taught him to be more decisive in his art.

“I think that we all have like a power of imagination, right?” he said. “... And so it's just the ability then to take that and go from a concept, a strange concept in my head to something that I can share.”

Much like the swirls of color in his paintings, Lambson’s relationship with art has ebbs and flows.

Not in the sense that he ever departed from his passion – except, maybe, a brief stint as a mechanical engineer, which didn’t go very well, Lambson said – but in that he has immersed himself in different projects as his interests evolved.

Perhaps his proudest endeavor is his 20-year effort to replicate the motion of the human body in a physical model.

He has found other fluid sculptures to be “woefully inadequate.”

“If a human could do it, I wanted my mannequin to do it,” he said.

Lambson’s creative spirit has seeped into the fabric of his family life. For example, he is 15 years into building a straw bale house – one of the primary reasons he chose to raise a family in Lewis, although he thought it would take only six months, he said.

“Not knowing everything sometimes – it's kind of like the blessing to be ignorant, to be able to just say, ‘I don't have all the answers right now. I don't know what this is going to be like, but I think I can do it,” he said.

Kevin Lambson's art on display at the Dolores Public Library this month.
One of Lambson’s models of the human form, which he hopes to one day mass produce.

And if you visit his house around Christmastime, there’s a good chance you won’t see a conventional tree. It changes every year – one year it was his water heater draped in lights and garland.

In the future, he’d like to teach others.

He has in the past, leading classes in Photoshop at the Orme School in Arizona, and instructing a group that swelled to about 10 children and one mother in exchange for a midwife’s services delivering his first child.

Lambson has an Etsy shop under the title ArtsyQuirksy.