OROVILLE – David Heck is known up and down the west coast as a respected mural artist, but this is the first time he’s plied his trade in the this neck of the woods, he says.
“I’ve never been up here before,” said Heck, who adds he does “stuff all over the place” in the Seattle area, mostly working from Tacoma to Everett. However, he’s worked in other cities like Los Angelas and Las Vegas and will soon be heading to Vail, Colo. to work on murals there.
His canvas is wide ranging – not just historical and advertising murals, but also kid’s rooms, wine cellars, motorhomes, Metro busses and the walls of swimming pools. He can paint a ceiling to make it look like it is open to the sky or add a realistic window to a wall. His subjects have included underwater scenes, classic cars, Winnie the Pooh and just about anything that can be imagined.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years, nearly 26… it is how I make my living full time,” said Heck, who was painting a vineyard scene last Friday on the easternmost panel to be graced with historical scenes in honor of Oroville’s 100 year Centennial Celebration.
The muralist was brought in to complete the three remaining murals after another mural artist, Glenn Chase, failed to finish the job last summer. That artist painted three panels. These depicted Enloe Dam, a Native American woman and an apple tree representing one of those planted by Hiram “Okanogan” Smith, who planted the first apple orchard in the state. A photo of Smith has been recreated in the upper corner of the apple orchard panel.
“This is my first time in Oroville, I don’t do as much stuff on this side of the mountains, maybe only a couple times a year,” he said.
On the three remaining panels to be painted, Heck is painting a vineyard, mine and railroad scenes to be completed in time for Incorporation Day set for Saturday, Aug. 2. Local artist Marcia Bell, who painted the large map with the Centennial logo she designed, will be adding the finishing touches
“Historical and landscapes are common themes in many of the murals people want me to paint,” said Heck who also handpaints billboards and does custom signs between mural jobs.
“I work with brushes, airbrush, spray guns… these I am doing all by brush using a special paint called Nova Color,” he said.
Rick Braman found Heck after researching for mural artists on the internet. Braman’s wife Ellie got the ball rolling on the Centennial Mural Project and the two were scrambling to find someone to complete the project in time for the Centennial Celebration after the first artist “flaked out.”
Heck, based out of Bothell, Wash. is well-known for both his interior and exterior works. He has accounts with Universal Studios, Sony Music, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Space Needle Corp, Vail Resorts, the Seattle Supersonics and Tower Records. He’s done murals for such familiar names as Sam Perkins and Gary Payton of the NBA, championship hydroplane racer Chip Hanauer, sprint car driver Brian Pualus, NHRA drag racer Tom Hammonds and even Janie Hendrix, sister to the late guitar legend and Washington State native Jimi Hendrix.
“These are good size, but I’ve painted much larger murals,” he said.
The biggest mural he ever painted was three-stories tall, he said. Heck also does tromploy or trompe l’oeil murals which have a 3D effect, giving the viewer the feeling they can walk right into them.
Bell is painting the names of the main sponsors under each panel and the easternmost panel which was left blank will have a list of people who donated to the project, according Braman. Donations can be made to the Oroville Mural Fund account at the Oroville branch of Sterling Savings Bank. Any money that comes in will go to pay Bell for her continuing work on the project, said Ellie Braman.