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Celebrity Portrait Artist Anthony R. Whelihan Paints American Pride

By Lavender June 4, 2009

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Change, Hope, Love, and Community” is the subject of Celebrity Portrait Artist Anthony Whelihan’s fifth original art cover for Lavender Magazine’s 2009 Annual Pride Edition. Whelihan’s commitment to our GLBT community is evident not only in his creative work for Lavender, but also in his willingness to give to many organizations of his talent, his time, and his canny ability to raise funds through his art to benefit those in need.

Whelihan’s works have been commissioned by, among others, the NFL, Nascar, Disney, the US Open, the Bruce Lee Foundation, Minnesota Legends, the Ordway Circle of Stars, and the Judy Garland Museum. In the past, his celebrity portraits have included Aretha Franklin, Bea Arthur, Bill Cosby, Jewel, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind & Fire. Joining the roster this year are Frankie Valli, Gilda Radner, and a signature work, “KIDS on the COUCH,” to benefit the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s new Cardiovascular Clinic.

Whelihan’s contemporary style and bold use of color have become his signature. His unique ability to capture the viewer’s imagination until one story has been told, while inviting them to pursue their own personal interpretations, keeps critics and collectors alike wanting more.

The many charitable events held at his home studio as An Evening With The Artist are not to be missed. Guests are treated to a cocktail reception, a private studio tour, and a buffet dinner catered by his partner, Tim Henning. “The House of Henning” provides guests an enchanting evening, while raising funds for many organizations throughout our community.

This year, the studio is making available a set of invitations that may be won by entering the contest “I WANDA if I’ll WIN” (see page 33). The winners of this contest will be guests of Lavender’s famed podcaster, Wanda Wisdom, at this year’s Pride Party at the artist’s studio, and also will receive a studio gift from Whelihan Fine Art.

Whelihan the artist is as colorful as his creations, yet he maintains an introspective, contemplative side. He’s always willing to tell the viewer about his work. One story will evolve into twenty: This man is seldom at a loss for words.

His work is categorized into Collections: The Modern Icon Collection, Young Americans, The Lockyeroom Series, Once Upon a Rhyme, Sports Legends, and Fantasy, just to name a few. “Learning to Look is the Vision to See” is one of Whelihan’s slogans, which becomes evident as one studies his work. The closer you look, the more you see. Images appear, meld into others, becoming part of an all-encompassing image.

His style has given him instant recognition, for once you know his work, you will recognize it anywhere.

“I am proud to be part of this community and its diversity,” Whelihan commented, “but Pride should last throughout the year—now that truly would be a celebration. Visit the world of Whelihan at whelihan.com.

Photo by Hubert Bonnet

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