The kaleidoscope that is Newport is reflected in the dynamic watercolors of William Heydt. His bold palette and painterly technique create a prismatic effect of form and color. Alternating patterns of people and places converge and diverge, forming vibrant images of a city and those who make it so vital. More than portraits of significant people, these pictures capture an essence of Newport that tourists don’t see: Ronnie and his “archive” at Aquidneck Lobster, the late Joe Jarvis manning the ticket booth at the Jane Pickens with a view of Touro Street, auctioneer Mike Corcoran at work. Heydt takes us behind the scenes at Salvation Cafe, La Petite Auberge and Flo’s Clam Shack. He juxtaposes a legendary Newporter – Billy Rose-with a legendary place- the Redwood Library. Whether his subjects are at the back of the counter- Five-O at the Clarke Cooke House bar and Joe Nagle at Newport Ace Hardware- or behind the desk-Maggie Gillis, Newport Daily News’s irreverent columnist and day-trader Lisa Baldwin at home on the Point, Heydt has made their daily lives part of Newport’s life. And then there are my favorites, the indelible portraits of artists at work: Rupert Nesbitt, Natasha Harrison, Ben Butler and Tom Deininger. The arts community is a vital part of the Newport kaleidoscope, something that resonates in these portraits.
William Heydt loves the energy of Newport. After the galleries of New York City, the ateliers of Paris, the ambiance of Jamestown, the artist and his family have come home to Newport. Originally from New York, Heydt first came to Rhode Island to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, where he earned a BFA and later a MFA in painting and printmaking. In between he studied printmaking in Paris under the renowned Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17. For a time, Heydt was part of the faculty of Massachusetts College of Art. During the 1980’s, he live in New York City where he studied and pursued photography. The artist’s wanderlust and passion for photographing and painting people and places have taken him to Europe, the Near East, Asia, the Caribbean and through South America. We are delighted that his artistic and journalistic talents have landed him here in Newport.