Ed Wheeler has been working as a commercial photographer for 35 years, shooting on location for some of the top corporations in America. To maintain his sanity he has always worked on personal projects. One that has run for over twenty years is his Santa self-portraits. Dressed as Santa, Wheeler photographed himself in humorous settings for the annual holiday cards for his corporate clients. Things like: Santa gets a tattoo, drives a sports car, or goes bowling. In 2011 Wheeler realized that Santa was destined for more illustrious situations.
Now he imagines Santa entering into the great masterworks of art. His intent is to pay homage to the original paintings, while offering art lovers an additional reason to smile. Wheeler has researched hundreds of paintings and finds that certain compositions beckon to him for a “Santa intervention.” Once a painting is selected, Wheeler embarks on a multi-step process to fully integrate Santa into the lighting, brushstrokes and tonal values of a particular painting. Wheeler’s meticulous attention to detail, lighting and attitude of the figures leads to another kind of art experience. The Santa Classics have been seen in an exhibition hall in Moscow, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PhotoWorld magazine in China, and a calendar in Florence. Monet’s Japanese Bridge was chosen to be the Christmas card for the Foundation Claude Monet, in Giverny, France. In 2016 an exhibition is hanging in the Art Museum of South Texas. A traveling exhibition has been created to help museums bring a family audience to there galleries in the holiday season.