David Trinko: Kalida teen’s artwork leads to meeting OSU’s Henderson

KALIDA — Ethan Wehri spent two and a half weeks intently studying Ohio State star TreVeyon Henderson.

His cleats. His muscles. The look on his face. He wanted to get them all just right for his independent project in his art.

All that time, he never expected to see the man himself, much less at the Buckeye running back’s request at an autograph signing in Columbus last Saturday morning.

“The next thing you know, he texted me and told me that he was pulling in the parking lot,” said Wehri, a senior at Kalida High School. “I walked outside, and then he drove by and waved. He texted me and told me to meet him out at his car, that way a whole group of fans wouldn’t see him and kind of bombard him. We met out there, and the rest is history.”

Well, history, happenstance and a remarkable art project went into it, before meeting in that parking lot and Henderson autographing his likeness while commenting on the time and talent it must’ve taken.

“It was an excellent opportunity that came from a very unique set of circumstances that could not have happened to a more well-deserving young man,” said Wehri’s art teacher, Steve Myers, via email.

Wehri, the son of Mark and Sue Wehri, started working on a pencil drawing for his art class project earlier this year. He’d spend his class time and his study hall time working on the project, his rendering of a photo he found on Henderson’s Instagram page.

“Honestly, he’s been one of my favorite players since he was a freshman and broke Eddie George’s single-game rushing record,” Wehri said.

Wehri, who hopes to get into computer-aided design in the future, went through a few rough drafts before landing on the final one. It was a challenge getting everything just right.

“Probably just getting the muscles the correct size and shape, and his legs and stuff,” Wehri said. “The angle of the photo is kind of tricky, drawing his legs since they’re a lot closer than his body since he was hunched over.”

Wehri credited Myers with helping him figure out how to shade the edges of the picture better to draw attention to Henderson in the middle of the image. Myers said Wehri didn’t need much guidance.

“Occasionally he would ask for my opinion on how to accomplish a certain look, but I was very hands off in the whole process,” Myers said. “He is very good at recognizing a problem and adapting and figuring out a solution to the problem. Ethan is a very bright young man that has many talents.”

Many high school artists and musicians have great talents. Wehri’s fine art could’ve just been something appreciated by student and pupil, but a series of unlikely circumstances led to meeting Henderson.

“We started off the year wanting to display as many pieces of art as we could,” said Dean Brinkman, Kalida’s high school principal. “… So during our first home games, on our stage, Mr. Myers set up probably 25 pieces of art that have been done in his classroom since the beginning of the year and put their names on it.”

While covering last weekend’s Kalida-Delphos St. John’s boys basketball game, WOSN’s Myles Holliday saw the portrait and liked it. He sent a picture to Sarah Harris, a photographer of Ohio State athletics. She shared the image with Henderson, who wanted to meet the artist himself.

“They took the time, effort and energy to make something happen for someone they have never met,” Myers said. “They used their platform for something good! It all could have been a big ‘what if?’ But instead, people decided to do something and make a positive impact on a young man’s life.”

Wehri said he couldn’t believe it at first when Henderson started sending him messages.

“I got the message that somebody actually sent it to him, and he responded, asking about me and asking about my social media handles so he could get in touch with me,” Wehri said. “The next thing I know, I see it pop up that TreVeyon Henderson was typing a message to me. I was on cloud nine. Isn’t that awesome?”


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.