FEBRUARY 2021 Magazine | Page 15

After his visa expired, Milan Heger and his family returned to Czechoslovakia just in time for the Velvet Revolution. The iron curtain crumbled; the era of the Soviet bloc was over. Throngs of non-violent protests spread across the streets of Prague and Bratislava. Over forty years of one-party rule in Czechoslovakia came to an end and the government became a parliamentary republic. Even in the midst of the revolution, Milan Heger knew his quest for freedom would bring him back to America. Soon he and his family returned to Hawaii.

In Hawaii his work took on many incarnations in both art and design. While he worked primarily as an architect, galleries exhibited his art and his work generated buzz among private collectors. He also took a deep foray into fashion design, designing a bespoke collection of silk scarves. He became adept at shape-shifting within any design discipline that suited his vision: art, architecture, interiors and furniture. After working primarily as an architect in Hawaii, he moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1997 to open his own architecture and design firm.

Milan Heger brought the full weight of his artistic talent to many disciplines in Seattle: architecture, fashion design, furniture design and interior design. Everything he touches receives accolades. He launched his own line of furniture called Artifacts. His Coffee Table Milan was recently awarded an Honorable Mention by the International Design Awards IDA. With all of the ventures into other disciplines, it is Milan Heger’s art, his passion for creating paintings and mixed media works that dramatically actualize his bold visions of freedom.

If he had his druthers, would he just paint? “Most artists have a day job,” he says. “Then they paint or do art after hours, unless they are lucky to have a patron who supports them. No matter what I do as a day job I do my art just as much. The art is always with me.”

His art is figurative expressionism; he creates symbols embodying thought and emotion, the very essence of what it means to be human. Through the years he has grown and shaped himself into art that blurs beyond the boundaries among race, gender, ethnicity, all of the cultural silos that keep us chained to the past. “There was one change of regime that I was not part of, but my grandmother was part of it,” Heger notes. “When fascism started to rear its head in the 1930s and nations were changing under authoritarian political influence, the generations before us experienced the Second World War with cruel behavior and genocide. Similar situations have been happening recently in the United States.”