Mike Wimmer: King of Hearts
The King of Hearts playing card has an intriguing, even mysterious image. People have long noticed the King of Hearts’ curious pose. It shows the king holding a sword behind his head. Or is he stabbing himself? Because of his pose the card has been called the suicide king. In tarot, lore the King of Hearts was also known as the King of Chalices.
I chose to portray the King of Hearts as Uncle Sam pouring out the valuable blood of his children and symbolically committing suicide with his sword. America in its quest to conquer the world through globalism and consumerism all too casually throws away its own future by pouring out the precious blood of our young men and women for political expediency; or in the case of these last 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the maniacal belief that America could impose its brand of cultural superiority, in the guise of democracy, on a people that have fought with each other for the past 3000 years; a crazy idea, which perfectly symbolizes the original King of Hearts, “ King Charles VII of France”, who was known to go mad. I, like many, have had to witness the effects of such thinking within my own family. My nephew John David was a bright young man who could not attain a college education because his family, like so many others in America, could not afford the escalating costs of higher education. John, who was always a sweet child, with no athletic ability, lost himself in playing video games and wanted to learn computer programming. He saw the military as his only chance to attain his college dreams and enlisted. His intelligence was quickly noticed, where he was chosen for training and later served in Afghanistan as a computer and intelligence analyst for target acquisition. The constant strain of life and death choices and the introduction to a drug culture within the military eventually led him to his emotional breakdown. After returning stateside and enrolling into college he found himself struggling with addiction and an inability to concentrate. John eventually dropped out of college where he found himself ill-prepared to make it on his own, so he moved in with his parents. One day after a small fender-bender he found himself at his wits end and took a gun and locked himself in his room and shot himself in the head. A terrible tragedy. Another statistic. Another life lost for a war that brought nothing of value to the United States at an estimated cost of some $3,000,000,000,000.00 (3 trillion dollars). Trillions that enriched the Corporations of war and energy, but with none left over to help the healing of our soldiers. So my “King of Hearts” has become the “King of Broken Hearts” and serves as a visual metaphor on a game that has only losers.
Mike Wimmer was born in Muskogee, OK and received his BFA from the University of Oklahoma and had the opportunity to study with Don Punchatz at The Sketch Pad Studio in Arlington, TX. Mike Later completed his MFA at the University of Hartford in Hartford, CT. Mike currently serves as the Chair of the School of Visual Arts in the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University. He currently lives in Edmond, OK with his wife Jime, an Art Educator at Edmond Memorial High School. Together they have 4 children and one grandchild.
Mike has illustrated some 14 children’s books including, “Will Rogers, an American Legend”, “Theodore”, “George”, and “Abraham”, by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating.
Mike has been featured in an Emmy Award winning production of the television series “Gallery” which runs on OETA. He has produced artwork for some of the largest corporations in the world, including Disney, Proctor and gamble. RJR Nabisco, Kimberly Clark, and has had the honor of painting the portraits of some of America’s most prestigious citizens. His work has recently been seen on packages of Celestial Seasons Teas, and has painted some 300 covers for almost every major publisher in the United States.
Mike’s goals have remarkably stayed the same throughout his career: “The details help tell the story.” The details are not only found in his paintings, but in his life as a teacher, a husband and a father. These goals are wrapped up in his personal motto; “Learn It, Live It, and Teach It.”
Mike Wimmer’s Website