Lynn Hocker has always been a “maker.” As a child, he loved going into the woods and spending the day building forts and treehouses. As a teenager, he excelled in shop class and even had teachers vie to own his projects when they were done. As an adult, he channeled his creative energy into making furniture such as coffee tables and grandfather clocks. But it wasn’t until about 18 months ago — after some 50 years focused on woodworking and creating what he calls “functional art” — that Hocker picked up a brush for the first time and began painting.
“In November 2020, I had my left shoulder replaced,” Hocker said. “I was in a sling, we were in the middle of COVID, it was cold and icy out, and my mind is not one that sits idle well.”
So, he headed over to Hobby Lobby, spent $100 on art supplies, turned a room in his Quarry Lane home into a painting studio, and began putting the images in his mind onto canvas.
Hocker now paints every day, creating whimsical and brightly colored paintings inspired by an odd combination of his love for motorcycles and his friendship with members of the Plain Community.
For one painting, Hocker reimagined the classic 1969 film Easy Rider, replacing actor Peter Fonda with an Amish man behind the handlebars of the iconic Harley Davidson. In another painting, an Amish man speeds through the air balancing on one leg atop the seat of a bright orange Schwinn bike.
“Oh, goodness, the fun memories!” Hocker said about the joy he experienced riding his own orange bike as a kid. “I pondered what if an Amish man could experience the fun that was had on a Schwinn bike, and what might that look like?”
And in one painting titled “The Flying Dutchman,” Hocker recreated the famous image of motorcycle racer Rollie Free breaking the land speed record in 1948, but with an Amish man taking the place of Rollie.
“I explore the ‘what ifs’ — whether in business or woodworking or artwork,” said Hocker, who, when he’s not painting, works as a consultant helping non-profit organizations build their vision, strategy, and governance.
Hocker said he’s shared his paintings with people he knows in the Plain community and that they “had a hoot” in appreciation of his humor.
“We, as non-Plain people, have such perceptions that Plain people are so steadfast. But nothing could be further from the truth. They have a wonderful sense of humor,” he said. “Art will resonate with people in ways you never thought was possible.”
Hocker said the joy he receives from painting has evolved into three buckets: the joy of exploring and creating with paint, the joy of being part of a broader community of artists who learn from and support each other, and the joy he receives when others appreciate his art.
People can see and appreciate Hocker’s art by visiting an exhibit at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz. The exhibit came about when Hocker decided to include a local historic building in one of his paintings. When he went to the bakery to take photos, he ran into Tim Snyder, owner of Sturgis, who also happens to be the Mayor of Lititz.
The two began talking, and after Snyder saw Hocker’s work, he invited him to show his paintings in the lobby of the building.
Hocker is also combining the joy he gets from painting with his non-profit work in order to help others less fortunate than him.
He has donated his artwork to support Horizon: Empower the Orphaned, a non-profit that helps orphans around the world. Proceeds raised through a raffle for Hocker’s work are being used to send art supplies to children in Kenya and Latin America so they, too, can experience the joy of art.
“It’s great to be able to work with Horizon,” Hocker said. “They see the value in how transformational art can be.”
And while Hocker said painting has allowed him to discover a new world of creative joy, his heart still lies in helping non-profits.
“I love sharing the joy of painting with others,” he said. “But my real goal and my real joy is working on governance and board development with non-profits. Painting is just another way to give back.”
See more of Lynn's artwork for purchase at Whisperingcreekstudios.com.
Learn more about the mission of Horizon: Empower the Orphaned at empowertheorphaned.org.