Kim Angelo Christiansen
Kim Angelo Christiansen (aka Kimbo) a prolific artist, lover of family, and consummate free-spirit, passed away in his sleep on June 8, 2018, succumbing to his delicate yet loving heart at his home in Sunapee, NH. He was only 73.
Born in Bakersfield, CA in 1945 to Jens and Clara Christiansen, Kim grew up in Santa Barbara, CA with his older brother, Kit. He was active in student theater and music, and became a cheerleader so he could hang out with all the female cheerleaders. He went on to attend Berkeley and UCSB, during which time his passion for activism, fairness, equality, and free speech were exercised liberally: he led student protests against the Vietnam War, and proudly participated in the Isla Vista riots of 1970. In his post-collegiate years, he was briefly self-employed in an emerging import-export market between California and Mexico, but eventually shifted gears and worked with his father in their gas station in Goleta, CA.
In 1978, Kim settled down and happily married. In the early 80s, he worked in the insurance business during the weekdays, and on the weekends he would make cottage cheese pancakes for his kids, throw pottery, write poems, play the bongos in the nude, sing his own (now legendary) songs, and clear brush from his home, necessitating trips to the dump – wherein he’d return home brimming with joy with his newfound treasures. Always a tinkerer and inventor, Kim’s portfolio ranged from an oil spill clean-up system using cork to Braille jewelry. In 1992, the family moved to Hanover, NH, during which time he focused his attention on his jewelry-making, which included the prestigious honor of having a pair of his earrings placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
In the late 90s, Kim, now divorced, further explored his artistic endeavors. Inspired by charcoal rubbings of ancient gravestones in England, he looked around – and down – and was struck by the diversity and beauty of manhole covers. His keen eye quickly sought to elevate the oft-overlooked into art. Quickly learning his new art also required an ability to dodge cars, he raised the mundane contours of manhole covers into an aesthetic in-and-of-themselves, developing a rich series of striking rubbings from all across the US, Canada, England, and France.
In 2007, Kim bought a home on Perkins Pond, near Lake Sunapee, NH, where he made many close friends, several who became like family to him. He was grateful for his friendships at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley, and was a kind soul who found beauty and happiness in everything: fresh cookies, the laughter of children, the reflection in a window, the stars in the nighttime sky, the mist at sunrise on the pond of his home, the way the kingfisher birds would leave stones on his dock. In his final years, Kim published a book on happiness, in which he reminds us that “happiness is not what happens to us; it’s about what happens in us.”
He is survived by his children, Amber Rouleau (Scott), and Jeff Christiansen; step-children Erin Hovan (Keith), and Gabe Crane; granddaughter Reya Hovan, and his brother Kit Christiansen (Nada) and his niece and nephews, Leif, Neila, Brett, Erik, and their children and spouses. The family will be holding a private memorial at a later date.