WELLS -- Right around the time David Haugland's art took a turn for the triumphant, his heart took a turn for the worse.
The Wells native and hobby artist was notified late in 2012 that his submission for BIC Lighter's "Best of You" lighter design contest -- which was held to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary this year -- had been accepted as a winner. Within weeks, however, he was making the first of two hospital stays to be treated for massive heart failure.
"I had a nasty end of the year," Haugland said of the month between Dec. 10 and New Year's Day. "As soon as I got out (of the hospital after the first attack), I went right back in."
But that didn't stop him from enjoying the spoils of his victory.
After learning of the contest in 2012, Haugland created a design that he said is in keeping with his general artistic aesthetic of surrealism and fantasy. In the past, he's designed art for bands and previously won $500 in a contest to design a tin for Camel's line of snus products.
His BIC design employs a trio of elements symbolic of omniscience -- a diagram of a brain, an umbrella and an all-seeing eye. Arranged around the text "Knowledge: It's all in your mind" and formed against an ominous, storm-gathering sky, Haugland's design is both atmospheric and disquieting.
It's also one of 11 entries selected from more than a thousand submissions to be printed on special edition BIC lighters this year.
Though he was only a few weeks removed from the hospital, Haugland had recovered enough by March to join the 10 other contest winners for a weekend getaway to New York City and a tour of BIC's facility in Milford, Conn. Winners enjoyed a catered dinner, awards presentation and meet-and-greets with city dignitaries In addition to an award and a box of various BIC products (the company also makes pens, razors and stationery), Haugland received a version of his lighter accented with 14-karat gold.