Dad's 'crap' sketches of people's pets have already earned $23,000 for homeless charity
via Portraits By Hercule

There are countless factors that go into determining the value of a piece of art. The artist, condition, size, historical relevance, proof of authenticity, and current art market can all have a huge effect.

There's also something to be said about whether the work is quality or not. Although, there have been a lot of questionable art pieces that have sold for millions.

For instance, Onement Vi By Barnett Newman went for $43 million. To me it looks like a blue ping-pong table. But art critics say it represents feelings of "loneliness" and "sadness."



Art affects different people in different ways so some things can attract buying prices that are way above what most would consider rational. That can be good news for the artist, as we can see from the story of pet sketch artist, Phil Heckels of England.

Last month, Heckels was trying to get his six-year-old son to make a thank you card for a family member. So, as an example, he created a wacky-looking picture of the family dog, a black Labrador named Narla.

"It was pretty crap," he told CNN. We agree. Especially the dog's neck. The real dog has a thick neck, but Heckel's sketch has a pencil-then neck.

He jokingly posted a picture of it on Facebook, offering to sell it for £299 (around $390). He soon received multiple requests from friends to draw their pets. So he set up a Facebook page under the name Hercule Van Wolfwinkle, to accommodate all the requests.

"Extremely realistic pictures which will grace any household," the site reads, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Heckel's artistic representations tend to have goofy-looking eyes and elongated limbs. He has drawn dogs, cats, horses, mice, and even a praying mantis.

One customer insisted on paying him for his precious art, So he set up a JustGiving fundraiser for Turning Tides, a local homeless charity. "I can't take any money for it so give some money to charity," Heckels said.

"It's an absolute basic human need to have a roof over your head," he said

So far, he's drawn over 220 portraits, raising nearly £18,000 ($23,000) for Turning Tides and he isn't even close to being finished. He has a backlog of over 1,000 commissions that grows by the day.

"It is like a little bit of fun and a little bit of light when there isn't much to be cheery about at the minute," he said. "I would die a happy man if I could spend the rest of my life doing this."

Even though he's become a famous artist, Heckels hasn't let the acclaim go to his head.

"I'm just having a laugh with it," he told CNN. "People seem to be enjoying it and I'm certainly enjoying it."

Here is some of Heckel's best work.

via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook


via Portraits By Hercule / Facebook

When the "Me Too" movement exploded a few years ago, the ubiquitousness of women's sexual harassment and assault experiences became painfully clear. What hasn't always been as clear is role that less overt, more subtle creepiness plays in making women feel uncomfortable or unsafe as they move through the world, often starting from a young age.

Thankfully—and unfortunately—a viral video from a teen TikToker illustrates exactly what that looks like in real-time when a man came and sat down with her while she was doing a live video. He asked if the chair at her table was taken, and she said no, thinking he wanted to take it to another table. Instead, he sat down and started talking to her. You can see in her face and in her responses that she's weirded out, though she's trying not to appear rude or paranoid.

The teen said in a separate TikTok video that the man appeared to be in his 30s. Definitely too old to be pulling up a chair with someone so young who is sitting by herself, and definitely old enough to recognize that she was uncomfortable with the situation.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less