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Will Work For ...

The Oklahoma History Center's latest exhibit will open on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. This exhibit features seventeen portraits painted by artist Mike Wimmer.

Wimmer describes himself as a “natural observer of people and all the differences that make us unique.” It was this diversity that he wished to portray in the “Will Work For …” project. Inspiration came to him when he noticed all of the people on street corners holding the signs that state that they “Will Work For Food.” He began to ask people of every social group what they would work for; what inspires them as individuals to sacrifice their lives, their labor, and their love enough that they will work for it. His models for this project have included a carpenter, mayor, museum director, other artists, a TV weatherman, and a former Miss America, among others. In each portrait, the individual is holding the iconic cardboard sign that completes the phrase “Will Work For …”

Wimmer is an Oklahoma-born artist who began sketching and painting at age six and selling his artwork at age eleven. He received his undergraduate degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and his master’s degree at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut. He has produced artwork for some of the largest corporations in the world including Procter and Gamble, Nabisco and Disney, and has painted portraits of some of the nation’s most prestigious citizens. Wimmer has painted more than 300 covers for almost every major publisher in the United States. More than forty of his pieces have hung in the Oklahoma Capitol Building. He is currently professor of illustration at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.

“The greatest enjoyment of being an artist is the extreme joy of bringing an idea to life that, just five minutes before, did not exist,” said Wimmer.


Left: Will Work to Build a Better Future for My Family
Dwayne Johnson, who inspired this portrait, is a carpenter and an acquaintance of the artist.

Right: Will Work to Share Oklahoma’s Story
Dr. Bob Blackburn serves his community through sharing the story of Oklahoma’s history. One of his many accomplishments is the opening of the Oklahoma History Center.