Philanthropic Artist Eric Hendrikx Makes Art to Support Men’s Mental Health
Rock ’n’ Roll for good forever.
Eric Hendrikx never explicitly set out to be at the fore of men’s mental health advocacy in Canada. Nor did he set out to be a celebrated rock ’n’ roll photographer. But he is now both. Using his platform as an artist, Hendrikx supports organizations that help men experiencing mental health issues.
In August 2017, Hendrikx had a near-fatal motorcycle accident in the Swiss Alps, one that left him in a coma with multiple broken bones and mental injuries on top of his physical ones. Upon healing, Hendrikx set out to help those experiencing similar struggles, a worthy cause considering that while women are more often diagnosed with depression, men are more likely to die by suicide.
Hendrikx refused to shy away from the machine that contributed to his accident. He became a global ambassador for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), an organization that unites motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world to raise awareness and funds for men’s mental health and prostate cancer research. In 2019, DGR made Hendrikx a grand marshal for Orange County, California, the state he’s originally from. Now he lives in Toronto, where he continues to lead DGR events committed to supporting men’s mental health. In May 2022, he held the inaugural Distinguished Gentleman’s Social Affair at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto to further promote awareness of and raise funds for men’s mental health.
Hendrikx’s most recent philanthropic art endeavour was Rock & Roll Forever, an exhibition that showcases his collaborative work with fellow Toronto artist Peter Triantos. The show featured Hendrikx’s original photographs of musicians such Slash, Fergie, Dave Grohl, and Ben Harper alongside mixed media artworks produced in tandem by Hendrikx and Triantos. Proceeds from sales of the artwork were contributed to Movember and the Unison Fund, two charities aligned with Hendrikx’s values: men’s health and music. After selling out its two-week premiere, the artists decided to come together once more to produce and auction art for charity.
This Saturday, September 10, one final piece from Hendrikx and Triantos’ show will be up for auction at Toronto’s Artists for Peace and Justice gala. This time, the proceeds from the sale of their artwork will help support education for impoverished youths in Haiti. While this may seem like a change of pace for the artist, given his varied interests—rock ’n’ roll, photography, motorcycles, philanthropy—it’s not that surprising a move for the chameleonic Hendrikx. “Everything is connected,” he says. “Creating positivity in people’s lives begets the framework need to support good mental health.”