Originally Published: July 23, 2004 7 a.m.
"I was the snotty little kid in grade school and high school who won all the art awards," said national and international award-winning artist Ken Ottinger of Paulden.
Of course, Ottinger also won a scholarship to Art Center College of Design in California. Throughout his art career Ken has done many things, from being a freelance illustrator for Motor Trend Magazine, Universal Studios and the U.S. Air Force, to Artist Instructor in Residence at the University of South Dakota at Vermillion. He lived all over the United States, and said he enjoys studying the cultures and wildlife of the Americas.
Ken and his wife Laura married six years ago. She was interested in learning more about art and Ken taught her how to sculpt.
"I have always been involved in the dog world, and Ken has always been in the art world," Laura said. "So, I got him to start focusing on being a dog artist."
Together, Ken and Laura now create a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and cards of dogs and other animals.
The Ottingers moved to Paulden about four years ago.
"We like the quiet, calmer pace of this area," Laura said.
"We've both had our big-city experience and we like the ruralness and the dirt roads here," Ken added.
Another of Ken's accomplishments is a bronze sculpture he made to honor the men who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
The Battle of the Bulge raged from Dec. 16, 1944, to Jan. 28, 1945. At its conclusion, the U.S. had suffered 81,000 casualties with 19,000 killed, the British suffered 1,400, with 200 killed, and the German toll topped 100,000 killed, wounded or captured.
Ottinger's sculpture is now on display in the museum of the Valley Forge Military Academy.
Ken's advice to new artists is to pick a subject that you love and study it.
"The challenge will be to take the beauty that you see and put it down on canvas or work it in clay," he said.