She fell for the art, then for the artist

Rebekah Headen fell in love with Tony Hernandez years before she actually met him. Not only that, it was love at first sight.

“Where did you get that beautiful painting from?” Ms. The head, 57, known as Becky, recalled asking a neighbor who had moved from Atlanta to Charlotte, NC, where she lives, in 2001.

“It’s a Tony Hernandez,” the neighbor said of the painting of a World War I plane with a fishing hook hanging out of one of its wings. “He’s an extremely talented artist living in Atlanta.”

Ms. The head’s interest in Mr. Hernandez, 56, as an artist rose markedly as he enjoyed a brush of fame following the release of “Drops of Jupiter,” the second album produced by rock band Train, which featured his artwork.

“It was huge for him,” Ms. Headen, who received a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and works as a talent strategy manager for the Hendrick Automotive Group in Charlotte.

“I fell in love with his style,” Ms. added. The head, who at the time was married and raised two young boys. “I was like OK, I’m going to get one of those paintings one day.”

In 2002, she did just that, and commissioned a painting by Mr. Hernandez through Hidell Brooks, an art gallery in Charlotte, as a Father’s Day gift to her then-husband. (Entitled “Inhook”, it was completed in 2003.)

Ms. The head followed her order with his very first call to Mr. Hernandez, with whom she confirmed shipping information before finding out he is a history buff who has drawn inspiration from the lives of children who grew up during the Holocaust, as well as those who struggled through the Great Depression, especially in the ghettos of Bronx, where his grandparents lived.

Hernandez, a native of Atlanta, attended Georgia Tech before leaving college to pursue a career in painting. His works, mostly by children during the Holocaust and the Great Depression, are currently on display at several art galleries, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The two reunited in 2004, this time in person, at a gallery opening in Charlotte.

“He was such a sweet guy,” Ms. said. The head, “though he seemed to mumble a lot.”

Then they should first see each other in 2013.

Early that year, Ms. The head, who at the time was divorced, to Chicago with several friends, one of whom mentioned that she had a friend who was single and talented and that his name was Tony Hernandez.

“I thought to myself, ‘This could be very interesting,'” Ms. Headen.

Mr. Hernandez, also divorced, reached out to Mrs. Headen following suggestions from their mutual friend in June 2013. They eventually began a conversation that led to a first date to watch the September 1 episode of Breaking Bad, their favorite TV show. .

Mr. Hernandez rode his Harley motorcycle in the rain from Atlanta to Charlotte to meet Ms. Head to the date.

“I had no negative thoughts about why I should not go, which is rare for me,” said Mr. Hernandez. “So I thought maybe that was the point.”

In February 2018, after years of long-distance dating, Mr. Hernandez moved to Charlotte to live with Mrs. Headen. (Her two sons lived alone at the time). The couple became engaged about three years later, on February 14, 2021.

“I found Becky to be the sum of so many beautiful things,” said Mr. Hernandez. “She was beautiful, smart and understanding, especially due to the fact that I spend more time on my painting than I do with her.”

The couple were married on October 29 at the home of their friends Kim and Ed Seeger on Little Stono Island in Charleston, SC Lauren Stines, a Unitarian universalist minister, presided over 10 fully vaccinated guests, which included Mrs. Headen’s sons Franklin, 27, and James , 24.

“We connect on so many different levels,” the groom said of the bride a week after their wedding. “She fell in love with my art long before she fell in love with me and I do not think we could have happened any other way.”

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