The "Will Work For" projects is starting to get some legs and some attention. This was a nice article that appeared in the January 22, 2017 Sunday Oklahoman.
Picture Credit by Phi Ngyuen
Original Story written by Mark Beutler for the Ok Gazette Nov. 16, 2016
Mike Wimmer has impressive credentials. More than 40 of the Oklahoma artist’s paintings are on display at the state Capitol. He also has created some of the country’s most iconic pieces of commercial art, including Mr. Clean and the Brawny paper towel guy, and has designed book covers for some of the nation’s top publishers.
Wimmer recently added another prestigious credit to his resume as the newest artist-in-residence at The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City, 1 Park Ave.
The yearlong residency allows him to set up shop in the hotel, where he will work on his latest project.
“As a portrait artist, I am a natural observer of people and all of the differences that make us unique,” Wimmer told Oklahoma Gazette. “It is this diversity I want to portray. We have all observed the many people who feel their only way to make ends meet is by standing on street corners, holding cardboard signs saying ‘Will Work for Food.’ I was inspired to ask myself, and then later others, what they would work for. What inspires them as individuals to sacrifice their lives, their labor and their love enough that they will work for it?”
Wimmer said he will use the public window and the Skirvin’s centralized location as the base of operations for gathering his inspiration and research. He will also use the location to create and display his work.
“I want to help bring a visual display of answers to questions we are all asking, like ‘What gives life purpose?’” he said. “I want to contribute as much prominence to each model and each voice as I do to the corporate captains of industry, politicians and noted celebrities I have been commissioned to paint.”
One of his earliest inspirations for this project was a young man from California named Dwayne. Wimmer said he had hired him to do some carpentry work around his house when Wimmer was struck by his facial features.
“We talked a bit, and I learned Dwayne’s story as a former gang member in California,” Wimmer said. “He had moved to Oklahoma to make a new beginning and wanted to work to make a better life for himself and his family. So I showed him with his tool belt attached and holding a sign that says, ‘I will work to build a better life for my family.’ He is a perfect example of what I hope to document and capture in this project.”
The artist-in-residency program is sponsored through the Paseo Arts Association, and a different artist is selected each year.
Wimmer said the downtown location is perfect for his new project.
“The Skirvin is forward-thinking enough and involved in the arts, and they are supplying the studio that faces Broadway,” he said. “It has an open window to the world at street level.”
He’s expecting more interruptions but is looking forward to the interaction.
The diversity of the downtown workforce will make up the bulk of his work, Wimmer said. He hopes to capture all walks of life, from the business people who work in the office towers to blue-collar workers, local celebrities and politicians.
“I will set up a studio with my paints, palettes, canvases and easel so people walking by can observe the creation process,” he said. “And when I’m not there, they can see the paintings and sketches displayed as they are finished as well as some of the selected cardboard signs created during the process.”
When his residency is over, Wimmer said he plans to have an exhibition of the work he has created throughout the year. He might even consider producing a book to accompany the project.
“I have been a great admirer of humanity, with all its diversity, origins and destinations,” he said. “I have been an avid reader of biographies my whole life because of my curiosity. I have often wondered what makes someone a hero. What path did they take, what choice did they make that made them someone we celebrate as worthy of our attention? That is part of the origins of this project. I am very curious what people consider worthy enough, that they would sacrifice their time and labors toward
Print headline: Inquisitive art, Artist Mike Wimmer uses his time as artist-in-residence at The Skirvin to study what drives people.
"A BALANCED APPROACH" will be for sale at the auction September 23, 2016 at the Science Museum Oklahoma.
A painting unveiled Tuesday at the state Capitol depicts him on his famous space flight to that distant body. The work of art by Mike Wimmer will hang in the House lobby.
Col. Childers was the recipient of the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action on 22 September 1943, at Oliveto, Italy. Although 2d Lt. Childers previously had just suffered a fractured instep he, with 8 enlisted men, advanced up a hill toward enemy machinegun nests. The group advanced to a rock wall overlooking a cornfield and 2d Lt. Childers ordered a base of fire laid across the field so that he could advance. When he was fired upon by 2 enemy snipers from a nearby house he killed both of them. He moved behind the machinegun nests and killed all occupants of the nearer one. He continued toward the second one and threw rocks into it. When the 2 occupants of the nest raised up, he shot 1. The other was killed by 1 of the 8 enlisted men. 2d Lt. Childers continued his advance toward a house farther up the hill and, single-handed, captured an enemy mortarobserver. The exceptional leadership, initiative, calmness under fire and conspicuous gallantry displayed by 2d Lt. Childers were an inspiration to his men.
See various stories about the dedication below.
Mike Wimmer: King of HeartsThe King of Hearts playing card has an intriguing, even mysterious image. People have long noticed the King of Hearts’ curious pose. It shows the king holding a sword behind his head. Or is he stabbing himself? Because of his pose the card has been called the suicide king. In tarot, lore the King of Hearts was also known as the King of Chalices.
I chose to portray the King of Hearts as Uncle Sam pouring out the valuable blood of his children and symbolically committing suicide with his sword. America in its quest to conquer the world through globalism and consumerism all too casually throws away its own future by pouring out the precious blood of our young men and women for political expediency; or in the case of these last 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the maniacal belief that America could impose its brand of cultural superiority, in the guise of democracy, on a people that have fought with each other for the past 3000 years; a crazy idea, which perfectly symbolizes the original King of Hearts, “ King Charles VII of France”, who was known to go mad. I, like many, have had to witness the effects of such thinking within my own family. My nephew John David was a bright young man who could not attain a college education because his family, like so many others in America, could not afford the escalating costs of higher education. John, who was always a sweet child, with no athletic ability, lost himself in playing video games and wanted to learn computer programming. He saw the military as his only chance to attain his college dreams and enlisted. His intelligence was quickly noticed, where he was chosen for training and later served in Afghanistan as a computer and intelligence analyst for target acquisition. The constant strain of life and death choices and the introduction to a drug culture within the military eventually led him to his emotional breakdown. After returning stateside and enrolling into college he found himself struggling with addiction and an inability to concentrate. John eventually dropped out of college where he found himself ill-prepared to make it on his own, so he moved in with his parents. One day after a small fender-bender he found himself at his wits end and took a gun and locked himself in his room and shot himself in the head. A terrible tragedy. Another statistic. Another life lost for a war that brought nothing of value to the United States at an estimated cost of some $3,000,000,000,000.00 (3 trillion dollars). Trillions that enriched the Corporations of war and energy, but with none left over to help the healing of our soldiers. So my “King of Hearts” has become the “King of Broken Hearts” and serves as a visual metaphor on a game that has only losers.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Chancellor G. David Gearhart’s official portrait was unveiled on Friday, March 6, in Old Main alongside those of other past University of Arkansas presidents and chancellors.
Speakers at the ceremony included ASG President Daniel McFarland, Staff Senate Chair Trish Watkins and Faculty Senate Chair John Rupe.
Gearhart’s portrait was painted by Mike Wimmer, an award-winning professional artist from Edmond, Oklahoma. Wimmer has produced artwork for some of the largest corporations in the world and has illustrated 14 children’s books. He currently serves as the chair of the School of Visual Arts in the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University. He also painted the official portrait of University of Arkansas Chancellor emeritus John A. White.
Chancellor G. David Gearhart and his wife, Jane Gearhart, unveil the official portrait of the chancellor in Old Main.The portrait can be found on the second floor of Old Main and is open to the public for viewing.
CONTACTSJennifer Holland, director of development communications
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