Henry and his dog Merlin did their time, living in a camper eating from the food bank and dumpster diving for other necessities. Living the life of a starving artist paid off. Henry has collaborated on and completed over 90 murals in a little over 2 years time. He and his crew are solid contributors to the Seattle scene whether the ‘fine’ art critics like it or not. Most residents of Wallingford, Ballard, and Fremont know Henry and his work. His unicorns, four-legged octopi, gnomes and Sasquatch run free in mushroom covered landscapes over buildings throughout our communities. The child-like qualities in his work appeal not only to children, but those adults who have fond memories of a life without struggle for the almighty dollar. Regina Hackett’s (former P.I. art critic) statement that Henry’s work was like “Happy times after the lobotomy,” spurred him to title one of his shows after the comment. It's this carefree and accepting attitude that wins the hearts of those who love Henry. There's no surprise that children and adults with the capabilities of looking at the world with child-like wonder are most drawn to his work. Henry’s work provides an escape when the viewer allows themself to be swept away into his storybook kingdom. His inner freedom has caused a bit of controversy here and there, but that’s all part of the life, isn’t it Henry?
Photo By Andrew Miller
S~ “What is your most dominant characteristic?”
h- “My sensitivity as a person, followed closely by my sense of humor.”
S~ "How do you feel about a formal art education and its affects on an artist's self expression?"
h- “I feel this depends on the individual. For me I had one teacher, Tanis Sietin, who taught me how to let go and be fearless when I entered school, though I had already developed a large visual dialogue to work within. I know formal education helps and hurts artists. Sometimes it makes artists lose their original voice, and sometimes it helps them. Skills and mediums can all be taught and learned independently if one wishes.”
S~ "How would you describe your work and process?"
h- “I feel my work is a true expression of self in image and process. I work fast, similar to that of a Japanese brush stroke artist. I start out loose and tighten it up as the process goes along. I hallucinate the image before or during the process, and build my work up in layers. I focus on balancing polarities.”
S~ “Who would you say are your heroes and inspirations?”
h- “My list of heroes and inspirations is huge so I’ll focus on Seattle artists. Starhedboy is my longtime pop-icon-propaganda-production hero. Xavier Lopez gives me true critical feedback and I love his emotion and skill and use of subconscious mythology in his painting. Nick Beery and Indio for their skill levels, humor and wit go to Nar boo and Maggie Harbaugh. Willingness to explore various mediums and support other artists would be Andy Miller. I’ve recently been inspired by two other female artists; Julie Luke for her connection with Australian tribal art, and Elizabeth Desiree for her use of art to expand social awareness; last but not least Gary Larson, for giving me laughter throughout my childhood. My list of heroes is constantly expanding as I journey through life. There are other artists I am learning from but the list would be way to long to include all of them.”
S~ “What do you hope to accomplish as an artist?”
h- “My long term vision as an artist is to bring happiness to people while educating people about the systematic causes of poverty.”
S~ “Do you prefer collaboration and public painting over studio work?"
h- “I enjoy a balance of the three. Different times in my life call for different focus.”
S~ “Who are some of your favorite Artists to work with?”
h- “One of my favorite people to collaborate with because he was unmentioned in the above list is Adam Bale, the film maker. I also have enjoyed collaborating with Sean O'Feery in the creation of Art Farm, which there has now been 6 of.”
S~ “What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?”
h- “Right now I feel like my greatest achievement as an artist is the ability to see the greatness and good qualities of other artists, and to be able to work with the people I admire.”
S~ “What are some links I can use to help promote your work?”
h- “For the time being, I’m focusing on one venue to sell my canvas work out of, the Short Stop Coffee in Fremont (40th and Leary). It’s the black shop with my robot mural on it. I’m working on some projects this winter in solitude so that'll be the best place to leave a note if someone needs to get a hold of me or wants to work with me in the future.”
S~ “Where in Seattle’s current art scene do you picture yourself?”
h- “I personally feel like a grain of sand on a beach and all the other artists are other grains of sand. Together we make up the beach. I love Seattle very much and it has enriched my life throughout my entire life.”
S~ “Where do you hope to be in 5 years?”
h- “On a yacht with a hot tub, or painting in a leper colony in Calcutta. They would both make me happy in different ways.”