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An Artistic Nod to the Season

Liz Kolken
of the Quaker Bonnet Eatery on Allen Street was looking for a way to
give a decorative nod to the season, but she wanted something symbolic of all
holiday traditions. So she commissioned artist Tim Hess to make a tree that
would answer the call.

Hess came
back with a non-denominational tree that incorporates the image of three
Hanukkah bushes atop one another to form one Christmas tree. It also has 7
points that represent the 7 candles of Kwanza. The tree, displayed on the patio
outside Quaker Bonnet for the enjoyment of the community, has 4 different
scenes painted on it, depending from where it’s viewed. When viewed straight on
it shows a single scene, and viewed from an angle shows two scenes.  (You’ll have to go see it for each view.)

Hess formed
the tree from plywood and then used a “hard edge” style of painting –
incorporating geometric lines and color blocking – inspired by the work of the
late Don Robertson, a UB professor.

As his day
job, Hess paints and restores houses for his own business, Tim Hess Painting,
and works with Hadley Exhibits, painting
scenes.  Though he doesn’t call
himself an artist, Hess has done some very creative things around town,
including the cicadae in Allentown. “I did the cicada thing as a family summer project,” Hess says.  “My nieces and nephews and I were
folding these origami bugs, and then I had all of this paint…”

Other than Kolken’s assignment, much of
Hess’ inspiration comes to him from the surplus in materials he finds himself
with, partly due to his painting career, and partly due to the Hadley exhibit
materials that come his way after an exhibit is deconstructed.  That, and a will to make fun and
beautiful things “for the benefit of the community,” he says.

the tree, Hess says, “We
would like for as many people to see it as possible.”  He has other things planned for in and
around his Allentown neighborhood, but when asked what exactly he might do,
Hess says, “I’ll know when it hits me.”



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