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

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

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

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