Tim Yanke’s Dragonflies and Doodles

Park West Gallery Tim Yanke

Dragonfly” (2014), Tim Yanke

Following Tim Yanke’s solo show during Park West Gallery’s “Detroit’s Finest” exhibition series, learn from the artist what inspires two of his most iconic images: the dragonfly and the “Yanke Doodle.”

Yanke’s grandparents were from Germany and Italy, making him second-generation. He credits this German-Italian heritage for his family’s love of antiques, as he would travel with his parents to auctions and estate sales around the Midwest on the hunt for treasures. In particular, they sought out leaded glass, windows and lamps.

On one of these trips, Yanke’s mother acquired a Tiffany leaded antique lamp with a dragonfly design on it, which Yanke recalls found a place in his family’s living room. The lamp left a lasting impression on the young Yanke, who recalls his mother always telling him and his five siblings to stay away from the dragonfly lamp. He now creates his dragonfly artwork in his mother’s honor.

“All of a sudden I decided to paint this [dragonfly], and it’s quite a departure from everything I was painting prior,” he says. “Well, I paint with my emotion and I paint about things that are dear to me.”

Tim Yanke Dragonfly

“Green Spring” (2014), Tim Yanke

The dragonfly invokes nostalgia in Yanke, and when used in his paintings, causes the viewer to have their own recollections or other special memories associated with dragonflies. He says it also has connections with his Neo-West style, as Native Americans saw the dragonfly as a symbol of water, fertility, renewal and spring.

Yanke’s dragonfly has since appeared in many forms, including as a piece of handmade jewelry and in modern lenticular art where the dragonfly flutters its wings. What collectors may not realize, though, is that they are bringing the dragonfly full circle when hanging it in their homes.

“They hang something of yours that you created in their home,” Yanke says. “This is where life and death and happiness and sadness, all these things go on in their homes, and it’s such a sacred spot for so many people, and yet, they hang something of yours in there. Are you kidding me? That’s fantastic.”

Yanke Doodles

Moving from nostalgia to patriotism, the “Yanke Doodle” series is the artist’s way of expressing the diversity of America. The name is a play on the well-known “Yankee Doodle” song, and about 80 percent of these works of art feature the U.S. flag in colors aside from the traditional red, white and blue.

Park West Gallery Tim Yanke

Yanke Doodle” (2015), Tim Yanke. His red, white and blue versions are considered rarities among the rest of the series.

“The ‘Yanke Doodle’ flag that seems to be one of my – pardon the pun – flagships, was based on the fact that for the longest time I did it in non-traditional colors,” Yanke says. “The non-traditional colors were to represent the flags of the nations that people brought from all around the world to the United States.”

Like the dragonfly, Yanke is honored by having his “Yanke Doodle” works in people’s homes, and he has helped make houses into homes by donating Yanke Doodles to Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County homeowners.

Park West artist Tim Yanke Habitat for Humanity

Yanke presents a “Yanke Doodle” to a Habitat for Humanity homeowner.

With Park West Gallery artwork on more than 100 cruise ships around the world, Yanke has collectors on six of the seven continents, demonstrating the connection people have with his art. During the opening of his exhibition for “Detroit’s Finest,” he jokingly suggested a Yanke Doodle be delivered to research facilities in Antarctica.

“Let’s send them a flag, they could use an American flag out there,” he says.

Be sure to check out Yanke’s Dragonfly and Yanke Doodle works at Park West Gallery.

8 Responses to Tim Yanke’s Dragonflies and Doodles

  1. Russell Gardner says:

    We have our Yanke Dragonfly and just love it!

  2. Virginia Heffner says:

    I recently picked up Green Spring this past June. It gives me my own nostalgic view when I was a child. I enjoy looking at it for endless periods of time. Thank you for painting it.

  3. Jack Cohen says:

    We bought our second Yanke on RCCL this summer but have not received. Love his work and would like to see more. When is our dragonfly arriving.

    • parkwestgal says:

      Hi Jack, Sorry you haven’t received your artwork yet. Please send us your contact information and the name your artwork was purchased under. We will contact you with a status update as soon as possible. Thank you!

  4. john bird says:

    purchased Green Spring and Sunrise Spring. What do the gold numerals in bottom left hand corner mean. thanks

  5. Robert Collins says:

    My wife and I just bought “Purple Fertility”. We can’t wait to hang it in our home. Beautiful! Thank you for your vision.

  6. Bill Jones says:

    We have Blue and Purple Fertility paired on our wall, they look incredible. Along with Yanke Doodle on the other wall.

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