Ken Humphries moved to Marshallberg in the mid-90s to build boats after finishing college. He never left. By day, you can find him working at Cherry Point Air Station. By night, if he’s not coaching his sons’ little league teams or leading local Boy Scouts, you’ll find him in a tiny wooden workshop behind his home in Marshallberg. Within the walls of this understated burgundy wooden building, Ken creates art.
Ken always wanted to work with his hands. Born and raised in Pamlico County, he received a BFA in communication arts with a focus in graphic design from East Carolina University. After the call of North Carolina’s boat building mecca brought him to Core Sound, Ken nurtured his creative inclinations through oil painting. Today, you can find his paintings — detailed oil renderings of coastal North Carolina scenes and landscapes — in the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center and in local businesses throughout the region. The realism and intimacy Ken captures, particularly in renderings of Down East, harkens of Edward Hopper.
Core Sound has a way of casting spells, and the magic of its natural beauty and culture wound its way into much of Ken’s creative life. It didn’t take long for him to fall into one of the area’s most celebrated traditions: decoy carving. A humble and hungry student, Ken has relied on some of the area’s most recognized decoy carvers for mentorship and training.