People are in interested in people, whether because of personality traits, actions, or outward appearance. My work is inspired by this curiosity and allows the viewer to be part of the observation.

I think of my portraits as individualistic narratives which explore personage through self-presentation, facial expressions, and gesture. The work often inspects the under-revered, and appreciates the subject’s presence and dignity, giving pause to honor the person.

I have an assertive aesthetic and I use that to be a kind of  “equalizer” in terms of the way people are depicted. My color is divorced from naturalism and therefore skin color is in a way taken out of the equation. The work is meant to honor the entirety of humanity—not just one section of the population or kind of person.  

This interest in multiculturalism has been continually present in my work through incorporation of pattern, symbolism, form, and ornamentation which reference art and cultures around the world.


Heidi Brueckner is a Professor of Art at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA where she has taught painting, drawing, and design for over 20 years.

She received a BA in Fine Art and a BA in Art History from University of California, Santa Cruz; and an MFA in Painting from University of Kansas.

Brueckner has won 11 first place awards among others in 20-21, which include the Italian International Prisma Art Prize and the Faber Birren Color Award, and has participated in over 100 juried shows. Upcoming 2022 solo exhibitions include GearBox Gallery in Oakland, CA; Buckham Gallery in Flint, MI; East Central College Art Gallery in Union, MO; and Abington Art Center in Jenkintown, PA.

She currently lives and works in Oakland, California

Where are you from? Did you grow up in a creative environment?

I'm from Claremont, CA. Yes, my mother was a watercolor painter and my father was a poet.

Who or what has compelled and/or encouraged you to create your art?  

In college, I took a year abroad in Europe and visited countless museums. After this experience I knew I had to delve into studio art in a serious way. Both my parents encouraged me as well.

What is the key topic or issue that your work addresses?

My work is inspired by an interest in people. I use both archetypes and portraiture as a way to remark on human nature. The archetypes play roles in humorous allegories about morality, environmentalism, and cultural norms. The portraits are more individualistic narratives, which explore personality through self-presentation, facial expressions, and gesture.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?  

The human head and human behavior.

If you weren’t creating art, what would you be doing?