Here are some of the artists we are proud to work with.
George a Vietnam Vet, MSMC 1965-1968, was born and raised in Memphis. "My very first big trip away from home placed me in Vietnam. I was shot in the right hand and left elbow. Ia am a prostate cancer survivor and live with PTSD everyday. Even with my disabilities I never forget each day is a gift and a Blessing that I will not misuse. I first became interested in painting after attending an art therapy class at the VA. Art is now a part of my support system, thanks to the VA."
“I was in the Air Force security forces for two years. I was released from duty based on a personality disorder. Having social anxiety and depression Art Therapy has helped me express my feelings with the use of a paintbrush. Painting with a group of other veterans has helped me push back my social anxiety while in therapy with other people that share my same ambitions.”
Haint is a well-known folk artist who creates intricate designs using a variety of media. Though he now lives in the Pacific Northwest, Haint was born in Red Bank, grew up in Los Angeles, and spent nearly 20 years of his adult life in Lafayette, Georgia working as a truck driver before the success of his art career. Haint shares that he has always felt a "compulsion to make art" and before leaving the Chattanooga area for the Pacific Northwest he donated many of his early works to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. His hope was that his art could, one day, help Chattanooga's homeless community.
In July 2014, the executive director of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, Jens Christian, contacted Ellen Heavilon, H*Art Gallery's founder and executive director, about a collection of paintings that had been found in the basement of the Community Kitchen. Though these paintings had been forgotten for a number of years, Ellen was suprised and delighted to recognize it as the work of Haint, who had, during the time his art was stored at the Kitchen, received acclaim for his work.
Ellen was eventually able to reach Haint about the collection and he gave his permission for H*Art Gallery to exhibit and sale his work - with the proceeds to be shared between the H*Art Gallery and the Community Kitchen. He also provided information about the art and set the prices of each piece.
Isela Arredondo (Marysol’s Jewelry) was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico) and has been a jewelry designer since 2004. Isela has been able to support her family financially through her art and passion. She appoints her emotional healing from domestic violence to her art. She finds comfort in taking pieces of jewelry and making something whole out of something that was not. Isela finds her inspiration in her greatest strength and greatest weakness, her only child. Isela’s art has helped her improve her self worth through the appreciation of her passion.
James (Jay Dee Baby) Edger
James is a native of Huntsville, AL. His education ended in the 6th grade when he joined his father as a commercial and residential painter. He moved to Chattanooga several years ago and currently lives at the Patten Towers. He receives counseling to understand his divorce and background. He finds that making art at H'Art Gallery and H'Art Community Classes at Salvation Army and Community Kitchen bring him joy and help to "see him through" the hard times.
Jasen was born in Tampa, Florida. As a child he had always been somewhat of a troublemaker but not by choice. In his early years, he tended to skip school a lot and got into mischief with friends. His parents decided he needed something to keep him out of trouble so they bought him a sketchbook and a dog and told him they were his new friends. Jasen began living an introverted life, keeping somewhat to himself while discovering a new passion in art at 13 years old. He found a new way of expressing himself and his first painting was called "The Hunger". He found an inspiration in Salvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh. Jasen discovered that art doesn't always need to make sense (or at least not right away). Jasen likes to leave hidden meanings and images in his work. While in high school, he applied to Ringling school of art and design. After being turned away for not having what they were looking for, he pursued realism to improve his people, places, and animals. Jasen now adds his newly learned realism to his passion for surrealism.
Jennifer Davis is a survivor of abuse and abandonment, in addition to being a cancer survivor. She receives support services from Johnson Mental Health, which is the connection that eventually led her to H*Art Gallery. The art-making process brings her overactive mind to a relaxed state and relieves the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Jennifer began to explore art more than twenty years ago. Debilitating depression over the last several years interfered with her creative drive; however, Jennifer is now feeling optimistic about her future as an artist. She has a great therapist and also manages her symptoms with medication, and receives great emotional support from her son. She loves children and has a special relationship with her two great-nephews. Art is her greatest outlet and passion, and she is always ready to try new techniques and “mix it up.” Her goal is to have her own place and to become self-sufficient.
Jenny S. Hutto
“I was in the Army for seven years, married for 30 years and have three children. I am a disabled veteran and a cancer survivor for ten years. Art has helped me with the stress of things. It is a safe place. I can express myself and put all my emotion into it. It’s a happy place for me.”
Jessica Johnson is a self-taught artist. She has been deaf since birth and communicates through American Sign Language. She has had a love of art for as long as she can remember and has found her voice through creating. She wants to learn more and share her passion with others through example and teaching. She hopes her work makes others happy and speaks to them as it does to her.