Kenneth Houghton Ober was born in Cambridge, Mass. on February 22, 1972 to parents attending local colleges. Several months after graduating, his parents moved to rural Maryland to settle. Kenneth's creative abilities surfaced in elementary school and had become his focus by high school. The guidance of an excellent teacher, known to have inspired multiple artistic careers, pushed him to explore diverse media, ideas and encourage imagination.
In 1990 Kenneth entered the University of Maryland at College Park with Fine Arts as his major. Diverse studies in Art History opened doors into worlds of religion and Asian culture, which led Kenneth into an exploration of Buddhist philosophy and practice. These influences steered Kenneth’s work from traditional Western styles to a meditative and intuitive way of art making.
Kenneth withdrew from Maryland in 1993 to pursue an independent studio practice. A year of study and practice led him to Naropa University in Boulder, CO (the only liberal arts college founded on Buddhist philosophy in the United States). For over a year Kenneth immersed himself in the teachings and practices espoused by the school.
The anticipated birth of his daughter and the desire to connect with a larger art world led Kenneth to Chicago in 1995. Discoveries of C. G. Jung's research on mandalas and the intensity of urban environments took Kenneth's work in an entirely new direction. Text became an important element used to create images by weaving layers of text and graphics together.
Kenneth moved to California in 1999 looking for a place to settle and establish himself as an artist. He graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in 2001, with a focus on painting and installation in relationship to traditional and contemporary spiritual aesthetics. His paintings from this period exemplify Kenneth’s visual presentation of the complex multicultural fusion that defines contemporary human culture.
Kenneth began his current series of paintings in 2007 when he discovered the Beugler Pinstriping tool. The tool is designed for pin-striping automobiles, it makes very fine and precise lines of any length. The paintings, created using this tool, are about perception and projection through visual cues, using simple marks that speak of time and space. Technically, the paintings are complex fields created through the meditative and excessive repetition of simple, small lines in many colors. Many of these works vacillate between representation and abstraction.
Kenneth started participating in outdoor art festivals in 2012. The initial success of awards and sales was very encouraging. By 2015 He was participating in 10-15 festivals per year. These festivals led to the discovery of life in the deserts of Arizona. This new territory offered lots of sunshine, heat, and art business possibilities. Several years of doing shows in Arizona led Kenneth to Bisbee, a funky, eclectic, early 20th century mining town in the mountains of southern Arizona. He relocated to Bisbee in 2020.
Large, commissioned originals of Kenneth's work are currently hanging in privately owned collections and in numerous, well-known resorts and medical centers nationwide.