While Laguna Beach has more than its share of famous artists (we started as an art colony, remember), very few have succeeded in the commercial world as well as Ken Auster. And, honestly, the dude used to print t-shirts for a living. It was his wife who suggested he try painting for “added income.”

I met Ken Auster a few years ago down at Zinc’s Cafe, one of the resident locals’ favorite coffee shop haunts here in Laguna Beach – he’s a regular there with a bunch of long-time buddies. From the neck up, Ken Auster looks like a financial advisor. From the neck down, he’s covered in paint splatters.

Ken sits on the Laguna Art Committee board (a very small and pristine group); he travels the world to his gallery events and sponsored workshops; and he’s a regular favorite at Laguna’s annual Plein Air Contest for the Laguna Art Museum. While you’d think he’d be rather stuff and nonsense, he has a droll, nonchalance about him … and he’s always thinking.

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A couple years ago, Ken Auster brought one of the biggest trends to Laguna Beach in his wild Artemis Collection boots, and now he’s published a quite impressive coffee table book of his work. I see Ken on a fairly regular basis and I hadn’t heard a word about ANY kind of book he was working on until today, just 3 days before his Author’s Signing Event at our (also wildly successful) Laguna Beach Books.

So, here’s you chance to meet one of Laguna Beach’s finest homegrown (and world renowned) artists and grab up one (or more) of his great coffee table books.

The Ken Auster Book Signing event starts on Sunday, June 12th at 4:00 p.m., at Laguna Beach Books in the old Pottery Shack complex  between Brooks and Cress Street. (Sapphire Restaurant sits on the corner, and Laguna Beach Books sits between Tootsie’s Shoes and Blue Eyed Girl.) The book, Ken Auster: Intellect & Passion, is a 15-year compilation of paintings of San Francisco, with more than 60 pages and 68 paintings. It’s virtually a visual story of the City by the Bay with accompanying copy about the various obstacles and rewards he came across while painting one of his favorite cities.

Admission is free, of course, and there will not be an R.S.V.P. system in place for this event, so I suggest you show up early for decent seating. Given the crowds he attracts when he paints live at the Plein Air event, I’m betting it’s going to be a popular event in Laguna Beach.

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