Leonard Zimmerman fills us in on his mission to bring happiness to the world in this segment of The Dish.
At an early age Zimmerman distracted parishioners on Sunday mornings by drawing on church programs. His parents recognized his natural art ability and encouraged it, sending him first to John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, GA, and then to Savannah College of Art and Design. He graduated cum laude and began to pursue a career in graphic design.
It wasn’t until the death of his partner in 2006 that he picked the paintbrush back up as a way to deal with his grief and adopted the nom de brush “Porkchop”. His 2014 TEDx talk “Making Happy” about his HAPPY Campaign is the subject of a movie that will be released in 2016.
He has completed murals for the city at the Augusta Water Works, Georgia Regents University Children’s Hospital, the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, Mellow Mushroom, and other various downtown Augusta walls. In 2010 he was voted Best Local Artist by readers of Augusta Magazine AND Metro Spirit. And again by the Metro Spirit in 2015.
Leonard’s art-dense refuge, dubbed the Happy Den, has become a staple of Historic Augusta’s Annual Downtown Loft tour.
Through the HAPPY Campaign, Leonard’s iconic HAPPY Robot has spread around the globe via billboards, light displays, buttons and stickers (that you can get for the price of a stamp – or free at local galleries). Last, but not least to us, he designed the timeless “Love Wins” artwork for Augusta Pride 2011.