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From Where I Sit: The joy of Ken’s homemade Christmas cards

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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Wow, it’s officially over already.  And here comes 2013 not far behind. We received a few Christmas cards, and sent even fewer.  Every year I say I will do better next year.  Well, next year has come and gone.

My aunt Marie sent me a card and a letter.  A handwritten letter!  No one writes letters anymore.  I wrote an old fashioned letter back to her, just because.

I save a few special Christmas cards.  One of them this year came from Ken Kiunke and his family.  It is special because the artwork is original, usually depicting a family theme.  This year’s has Santa with a dog, since Creampuff entered the Kiunke home this year.

Ken hails from Fullerton down in Orange County.  In his younger years Ken worked at Disneyland as, among other things, a train conductor and monorail driver.  His interest in art that began in childhood developed during his stint at Art Center College in Pasadena.

Of that experience Ken says, “I was immersed with a lot of talented students and teachers, which is the true value of a good education - you just can't get the same experience if you were to study on your own.”

In recent years Ken worked as a Design Manager at AT&T.  When he took over the Sacramento Design Center for that company in 2000, Ken and his wife Karen moved to Folsom.  He currently writes about entertainment for Gold Country Times

His web page especially caught my eye – kenkiunkefinearts.com.  It is a “portfolio site” that includes his various yearly Christmas cards.  Of them Ken says, “I am fond of my very first one, which was actually started as a class project at Art Center. I decided the next year to do another one, and just kept it going year after year. Many of my friends and relatives look forward to it each year, so I feel obligated to keep it going. I always try to relate something of my own life in the subject matter, so when my son John was born, I had Santa holding the newborn baby, and he was the focus for several years after. I like one in particular of Santa reading the Christmas story to him.”

Like many artists, he has a wide and eclectic interest in music, movies and literature.  Check out his website and say “Thanks, Ken,” for helping make 2012 a Merry Christmas!

Reach Tom Rupp at truppfolsom@yahoo.com.