Game shows, the lottery, drawings; there are plenty of ways to get rich quick with next to no effort. It seems to be the possibility everyone hopes for, the “What if you won : ” that gets people dreaming. And for San Luis Obispo artist Ken Christensen, that dream is now a reality.
“When I got the call I was truly speechless I just didn’t know what to say : ” said Christensen in a written statement.
Christensen entered the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum‘s annual Million Dollar Home Raffle, which gives the winner the option of receiving either a million dollars or a home. (Christensen chose to take the money.)
“It wasn’t that difficult of a decision,” said Christensen. “I had no desire to change neighborhoods and I’ve established who I am in Los Osos. Plus, with a house you have to pay the taxes on it, as where they just take the taxes out of the million dollars.”
After reading about the raffle in the L.A. Times, Christensen “had this overwhelming feeling” he should buy a ticket. The $150 raffle ticket was kept secret from his family and was carried around in his jacket pocket for luck until the drawing.
“When you put out a positive energy, I feel like it finds a way to come back to you,” explained Christensen. He also attributed his win to entering more competitions and raffles since the decline of the economy, which have also made gallery sales drop off.
This good karma and “a little bolt of lightning” telling him to buy the ticket most definitely rewarded the artist. With his prize money, Christensen plans to make a return trip to where he studied art for five years, Paris, France.
France has always been one of Christensen’s loves. In addition to living in France for eight years, he also helped found “The New Fauves,” a group of painters who pay tribute to the French Fauve painters by continuing work in their particular style of painting.
Like the founder of the Fauves, Henri Matisse, Christensen also uses watercolors and oil pastels in his paintings of the Central Coast. He will also be teaching a watercolor class while in Paris, which was planned before his million-dollar win.
“I’m very serious about my art and this takes the pressure off me in order to pursue my art,” said Christensen, who had hoped that enough people would enroll in his class to be able to pay for his ticket to France. With the financial pressure off, he said he can finally focus more on what he loves.