What it Means to Be Human: HEES Displays Paintings and NFTs at Bechtler Museum and Aktion Art

HEES. “SEE ME FLY.” 2021-22. Acrylic, mixed media, and paintstick on raw canvas with 55 in LED screen insert- 4 NFTs play simultaneously, 84×96 in. Courtesy of Aktion Art.

A former-beauty-photographer-turned-artist, HEES’s creative journey has been one of consistent, self-taught innovation. The creator pivoted to painting 36 months ago, when he realized it was time for him to take on a new form of expression.

Since he began his artistic journey, his paintings have doubled in both size and intent, granting him more space to spread his message of life’s vitality and endless potential. His latest body of work features hieroglyphic-like collages, each containing subtle hints of energy and empowerment.

The pieces launched at Aktion Art with an all-night rager that both honored HEES’s work and opened the art season for Palm Beach: fittingly equipped with art, tequila shots, a dance floor, and a mesmerizing disco ball to set the tone.

“It was everything a party should be. In my opinion, that’s how you sell art today. People don’t want to stand in a gallery with white walls, white wine, and white people. People want to have fun, and enjoy an experience,” HEES said.

His solo show – titled “Evolve” – is a celebration of how his work has evolved over the past three years. The collection features HEES work of present and past, revealing to his audience how he has shaped and molded his approach over time.

The artist remains inspired by the life around him, working messages of humanity, compassion, and kindness into his pieces. “The circles in my paintings represent the soul. It has no beginning nor end; it always has been, and it always will be. Then, you have twelve marks around the circle, representing twelve hours in the a.m., twelve hours in the p.m., and twelve months in the year,” HEES said.

“Looking at the number twelve, one plus two equals three, and I believe that every living being has the divine right to three essential things: health, wealth, and happiness.”

HEES- “Law,” 2022. Still from video NFT. All images courtesy of the artist.

His NFT work features these same energetic life circles, along with various sets of the number seven, which represents the number of colors within a rainbow, the number of notes in a musical scale, and the various attributes of physicality.

“With those seven rainbow colors, we can make millions of colors. With those seven notes, we can create symphonies. And with the seven attributes of physicality – top, bottom, front, back, side, side, and center of connection – well, nothing in the world can exist without them. Not even a molecule,” HEES said.

These drawings act as a reminder to HEES and his viewers what it really means to be human – a feeling he has cultivated and come to really understand throughout his life experiences, particularly his 2013 diagnosis of prostate cancer.

“When I was first diagnosed, I was immediately struck with the realization that I had no right to feel anything but gratitude for being a human and experiencing this life. We have to spend time celebrating the life we were given—that we are able to look at the sky, ask questions, and seek answers—to have a conscious experience on this planet,” HEES said.

The Los Angeles-based creator is also showing his new work at the Bechtler Museum’s “Pop to Now: Warhol and His Legacy” which is curated by Nick Hissom and Kameron Ramirez the co-founders of Aktion Art [https://cultbytes.com/a-warhol-celebration-pop-to-now-at-the-bechtler-museum/]. Akin to Warhol, whose art practice seeped into the worlds of film, advertising, and fashion HEES’s work is inspired by his experience as a beauty photographer. While he was in the industry he relished in learning about people’s life stories as he collaborated with them on works of art – and had similar encounters as a music producer.

“I cherish those moments, and I work them into my current artwork. That’s me saying, ‘This is me, and this will always be part of my life, but now I’m taking flight and soaring in a new direction,’” HEES said.

Ultimately, his work is created with the intention of reminding anyone who interacts with it that there is nothing more profound than the journey of human life.

HEES. “White Train.” 2021-22. Acrylic, mixed media, and paint stick on raw canvas. 95×84. Courtesy of Aktion Art.

“Every problem we have on the planet, we created ourselves. We weaponize everything: money, trains, religion, social media, technology, authority, policing, food, fashion, love. We weaponize our creations and then sit around wondering what happened. WE happened.”

Through his work, HEES hopes to encourage people to take a look in the mirror and embrace value. In a world full of consistently-toxic dialogue, his work – and art in general – raises consciousness by sparking a conversation.

“The painting is just the means to an end. The end is me wanting you to think, feel, and remember what a gift life is,” HEES said.

HEES solo-show “Evolve” is open through January at Aktion Art, 150 Worth Ave, Suite 224, Palm Beach, FL 33480, and “Pop to Now: Andy Warhol and his Legacy” is open through January 2 at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202.

HEES is a self-taught contemporary artist whose work specializes in themes that address what it means to be human. Born 1962, in Corpus Christi,Texas, HEES began his career as a painter, makeup artist, photographer, brand consultant, creative director and producer. During his 30 year career in beauty and photography he worked with some of the world’s biggest brands such as; Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, BELK, STILA, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, E Entertainment and many more. He has photographed some of the biggest names in entertainment including Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Annie Lennox, Lisa Marie Presley, Fergie, EG Daily and Christina Aguilera. However, his painting always remained his passion, and dearest to his heart throughout his photography career.

HEES positive messaging and intriguing painting techniques have propelled him onto the international art scene. Bought by many major collectors across the world, HEES finds himself inundated with demand. He has donated his paintings to charities and has raised over $100,000 for the AMFAR gala and The Norton Museum’s 80th Anniversary ART Auction. He is currently showing at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in the “Pop to Now: Warhol and his Legacy” exhibit featuring Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, ThankyouX, and Kristin McIver. HEES will open his first gallery solo show in November 2022 at Wynn Fine Art in Palm Beach with Aktion Art. Instagram Website

Taylor F. Engle is a writer based between LA and New York. A former fashion assistant at Harper’s Bazaar, she is a freelance writer with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for fashion and how it relates to other industries. Engle has a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from California State University-Fullerton. Her work has been published in Cultbytes, Art Spiel, The OC Weekly, La Habra Journal, Forever Twenty-Something, and Gritdaily among others.

Sponsored Content