One day in 2003 an unusual gentleman wandered into our furniture and art gallery. We now think that he was a prophet because all that he predicted has actually happened. “This place is anointed; this artist, Bill Hemmerling, is anointed; I predict that he will bring spiritual joy to people all over the world.” We never saw this man again, but soon came to realize his predictions were uncannily true. Bill had only been painting a very short time when the prediction was made. Our memories are filled with profound, extraordinary stories of just how Hemmerling art has affected someone’s life in a positive way.
We met Bill at the Louisiana Furniture & Art Gallery where we had an office and he lived in the neighborhood. As he was approaching retirement after 35 years of service doing visual display work at Sears, he was worried and wondering how he would fill his time during his retirement years. The Louisiana Furniture & Art Gallery is a non-profit showroom supporting Louisiana furniture craftsmen and artists by giving them a place to display their work and by helping them with marketing. Bill became a member of our association and we hung his first works on the front wall nearest the window. He would come after hours and peer through the window. Although he was not very confident in his artistic ability, he was very proud to have a gallery hang his work and he would come into the gallery every afternoon for a daily dose of encouragement. Upon retirement, he knew he could not afford expensive painting supplies, so he began to paint on recycled and discarded found objects using house paint and wood stain. Everyone locally loved his artwork, but my husband and I were eager to test a national market. An application to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans brought acceptance for a display booth and then the fun began. Bill was immediately embraced by the art community as a person and as an artist. He had a story to tell and was telling it straight from his heart through his art. As many people saw his incredible talent as an untrained artist, we began to sell his art to first time art buyers as well as seasoned collectors. His artistic popularity set a Jazz Fest sales record in 2003, sales doubled in 2004 and by 2005 he was named the official New Orleans Jazz Fest poster artist.
Bill has since become one of the most prolific artists in Louisiana. His unassuming and intuitive style has continued to inspire and bless those who come across it.
If you have a personal story about your visit to the gallery, meeting Bill, or how the art has affected you, please write to us at 495 SW Railroad Ave, Ponchatoula, LA 70454 or by email Contact Us and Say Hello!.