Danville Express

Newsfront - December 14, 2007

St. Jude, hear our plea

Artist Phil Hellsten used black, white and gray squares to create a 16-foot by 20-foot face of St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, on the roof of the Pioneer Art Gallery & Studios at 522 Hartz.

Hellsten says he thinks of the work as positive, spiritual graffiti and likes the idea that aircraft and people using Google satellite will be surprised by the image. "When I hear a plane, I look up to see if they are looking," he said last week, while doing touch-ups after a rainy day.

Ultimately, he has no idea how long the piece will last - and that's part of what makes it special, he said. "It's ephemeral. It's a fun concept because you're not trying to make it valuable."

Hellsten is considering selling T-shirts printed with his gray-scale artwork to raise money for studio and gallery space in Danville, along with tile art work of religious figures to churches. He plots his larger pieces on paper with squares.

The building space was granted as temporary gallery and studio space to Alamo Danville Artists' Society by owner developer Brad Blake. To contact Hellsten, e-mail him at starman1111@hotmail.com.

-Natalie O'Neill


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