How Quirky is Berkeley? Doug Heine’s Gate 13 art

"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

When telling someone how to find Doug Heine’s studio at 813 Page St., it seems logical to mention the airplane tail protruding from the roof; that seems to me to be a significant marker of a quirky nature. When Doug Heine is telling people how to find his studio, he mentions the bougainvillea.

Heine graduated from high school in Vallejo in 1953. He has lived on Page Street since 1983. Over the years, he has held a wide range of day jobs – as a pipe-fitter at the nuclear reactor station at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, as a technician on the Cosmic Background Explorer, and in various roles at the University of California working in the astrophysics department, the art department, the metal shop, the foundry, and the wood shop.

Only a few pieces of Heine’s work are visible from the street.

"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

This 8-ton marble piece (above) is a relatively new work by Heine. Western civilization once again is teetering on the verge of collapse. A hero leans against the pillar, either propping it up or tilting it over. The clock tells us that we are running out of time.


Step inside the gate to the yard and there they are — big manifestations of Heine’s creativity, whimsy, and joy of life, amid an ancient but functioning forklift and ladders and steel and chaos, some of which seems to have persisted from the industrial engineer who  owned the place and worked here before Heine.

Gate 13, 813 Page Street. Photo: John Storey.
Gate 13, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
Gate 13, 813 Page Street. Photo: John Storey.
Gate 13, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
Gate 13, 813 Page Street. Photo: John Storey.
Gate 13, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
Gate 13, 813 Page Street. Photo: John Storey.
Gate 13, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

Step inside the studio off the yard and you encounter an eclectic, diverse, and whimsical collection of Heine’s work.

"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page Street. Photo: John Storey
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

These paintings are a logical artistic extension of Heine’s work for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission, whose purpose was to take precise measurements of the diffuse radiation between 1 micrometer and 1 cm over the whole celestial sphere.

"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey
"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

Past the studio is the sanctum sanctorum — and more Heine art.

"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

I am charmed by the whimsy of this piece. The 5-7-5 haiku pattern is disrupted by two missing pencils on the left, the fault, Heine says, of a careless cleaner.


"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

The name of this piece, above, is “Two Souls That Become One.” It honors his mentor, the late Hal Dougherty and his wife Rita.  The marble is from Carrara, Tuscany, famous since Roman times for its marble.

"Quirky Berkeley April 3, 2015"
Gate 13 Studio, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey

Heine talks of a “pitter-patter” factor, that if the art he is working on doesn’t make his heart goes pitter-patter he knows he has missed. As far as I can tell,he doesn’t miss.

Doug Heine at Studio 13, 813 Page Street. Photo: John Storey.
Doug Heine at Studio 13, 813 Page St. Photo: John Storey.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,600 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means. 

For a fuller treatment of benches in front of Berkeley homes, see Dalzell’s post, Doug Heine’s Gate 13.

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