Wolf King Part of Terminal 2 Expansion at San Diego International Airport


Published Aug. 12, 2013 by by Imperial Beach Patch.

Throughout history, most often, “the victor tells the story and everybody else is in debt or in jail,” said Imperial Beach artist Jeff Kirkeeng.

That’s the inspiration of his latest piece, Legend of the Wolf King, one of several pieces of art on display in the newly expanded Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport.

The four-panel ceramic work of art, in part painted with gold leaf, tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf’s point of view for people waiting in security checkpoint lines to board flights.

The 445,000-square-foot expansion known as the Green Build project held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. 10 new gates will bring more people to America’s Finest City. Prominent San Diego businesses are included in the terminal including Stone Brewery and Phil’s BBQ.

The Terminal 2 expansion will open to the public Tuesday.

The wolf king story begins with the wolf asking an unnamed narrator to tell his side of the story because Little Red Riding Hood’s version of events fails to include the wolf’s perspective.

Each panel consists of several individual pieces, about 40 in all, that were made in Kirkeeng’s kiln at Art Wheel Studio & School on Elder Avenue in Imperial Beach.

The five-foot-tall panels are the most ambitious of Kirkeeng’s career and took six months to create. Legend of the Wolf King draws from several traditions, including Asian influences.

“So there’s allegories and analogies in the piece like in America we say the birds and the bees and in Asia they say the butterflies and the flowers. So there’s a lot of references but nothing terribly direct from any one place,” he said.

Kirkeeng grew up in Wisconsin and said he came to Imperial Beach by way of Boston one day looking for a cup of coffee. He never left. He met his wife Elisabeth in China.

In 2012 Mayor Jim Janney named Kirkeeng to the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Committee.

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