Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Made in St. Louis: Painter Uses Imagination He Honed as a Boy to Create Art

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Made in St. Louis: Painter Uses Imagination He Honed as a Boy to Create Art

Article excerpt

When Kyle Heikkila was a child, his grandfather called him "bear."

Heikkila still does not know the meaning behind the nickname -- he simply assumes he must have "looked like a bear" as a kid. Despite the mystery, he incorporated the sentiment into his artistic persona: Bear Howl.

Heikkila grew up an only child. He occupied his time by teaching himself to draw, simultaneously learning how to productively work alone and avoid boredom.

The introverted little boy would be proud of Heikkila now, he thinks. He follows his musings and works as an artist hoping to combine abstract and street art in paintings and portraits.

"I'm still that boy that just wants to be left alone and have his own imagination," Heikkila says.

Creating layers - Heikkila graduated from Webster University in 2009 with a bachelor of arts degree and a focus in photography. He found himself "stacking negatives" to build on photos and began leaning toward abstract photography.

While in school, Heikkila studied at the Art Institute of Seattle for a year. He discovered that painting presented an aspect he needed to pursue art: freedom.

In photography, Heikkila worked with models or people at events, but he did not want to feel constricted. In painting, he could combine his ideas with colors and textures in addition to his subjects. He still feels his abstracts need a character, but he likes that he can create the background to surround it.

"Being a photography major, you're kind of stuck with the colors that you see out in the world," Heikkila says. "With painting, you get to come up with these colors just by mixing."

Untitled - Heikkila wants his paintings to exude attitude. He takes inspiration from what makes him laugh and often adds a "silliness" or a "rock and roll star" vibe.

He thinks, however, his views should not matter to his audience. He prefers not to even title his pieces when showcasing them. …

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