Second grade–and yes, I know that I look like a VW driving down the road towards you with both doors open. What you don’t see was the way my ribs stood out like xylophone keys in an old cartoon.
There was never a medium look for me–before I attained my human fire-hydrant physique in my teens I was so skinny that my mother wouldn’t let me take my shirt off at the beach for fear that people would think she was starving me…
As a kid the first thing I would go after seeing a great movie or television show was to “play it.” Not being content to totally plop back into the real world I would make up imagination games centered on the film. After The Longest Day I pulled a crate out of the garage and used it for a landing craft at Omaha Beach. Classic Trek had me making props out of wood scraps and old Band-Aid tins as well as taping paper insignia to my green and blue T-shirts. The Fall of the Roman Empire? My mom’s wooden spoon became a gladius and the couch morphed into a horde of barbarians.
I still do the same thing, albeit in a slightly different way. If I get hyped about something I’ll use it as a theme in art–but it isn’t always totally successful art.
As a Steven Ambrose fan and former paratrooper it was not surprise that Band of Brothers was a hit with me; even so, it took me awhile to get something done reflecting that interest. This “long/skinny” was the first Easy Company piece I finished, but it lacks the strong emotion I felt in the miniseries, and there is a good reason why. If you look closely, you’ll see that this painting is almost more of a diagram than a painting. Every detail is exactly right–and it should be, considering the amount of research I did. The analytical left side of my brain usurped the right side and took over the project; consequently, it ended up feeling pretty stiff.