from a print company, Kuhlhaus Gallery owner Tim Coon remembers first
discovering the artwork of Paul VanHeest.
We go to Australia during the USA winters, Coon recollects, and while
we were there in the winter of 2009-2010, we got an email from Paul
suggesting we might wish to consider working with him, but I had no time
to respond. In March, he sent another email, this time mentioning that
Vada Print Company in Traverse City had recommended us to him. The second
email motivated me to look at Pauls website, which immediately sold both
Helen (wife and gallery co-owner) and me.
VanHeest, who is also a 28-year veteran teacher of middle-school students,
works almost exclusively in colored pencil (with the occasional foray into
charcoal), crafting intricately detailed, whimsical drawings that often
focus on fanciful characters and unlikely scenarios.
Its difficult for me to pick out any one favorite of Pauls works,
simply because so many of them are so cleverly humorous and so well
executed, Coon says.
VanHeests Globophobic Porcupine depicts a colorful,
meticulously-rendered drawing of a porcupine who is afraid of balloons;
Monkeyshines shows a monkey holding a traffic light where each of the
lights are provided by a red, yellow, or green animal (parrots,
grasshoppers, lizards, frogs); and Walking on Eggshells, one of
VanHeests most popular works, depicts a rhinocerus with cement blocks
chained to his feet, carrying a heavy-set Chinaman on his back who is
holding a safe topped with three suitcases, a stool, a bowling ball, and a
monkey, all walking on eggs. The latter has been the winner of at least a
half-dozen awards in various exhibitions.
VanHeests works are appealing for a variety of reasons, Coon says.
Pauls art is executed with great precision; is usually very colorful; is
chock-full of humor and whimsy; and usually - but not always - has an
underlying story. It is quite unlike anything we have ever seen before.
Coon adds that one of the highlights of VanHeests exhibit will be the
opportunity to meet Paul himself on the day and evening of the exhibit
opening (Friday, August 5) and also during his stint as the gallerys
Artist in the Window the following day, on which VanHeest will be
working on display.
Like Pauls art, he is a stylish guy who is full of humor, Coon says.
He is the kind of middle-school art teacher we all would love to have
Paul VanHeests artwork will be on display at Kuhlhaus Art in Harbor
Springs (294 East Third Street, telephone 231-526-4204) beginning August
5. For more info on Mr. VanHeest, please visit www.paulvanheestart.com;
for more info on Kuhlhaus, visit them online at www.kuhlhausart.com.