Even though the precision with which I make my cut-paper sculpts can readily lure me into Left Brain Land, I think I avoided that trap with this piece. It was originally done about ten years ago (close after the “long/skinny” I just posted) but I revised it this last year before giving it to my friend Hank Taylor upon his promotion to colonel.
The bright colors and near-whimsical rendering style are not an exact fit for the intensity and tone of the Normandy invasion but there is still a sense of strong emotion, that butterfly-on-steroids feeling you get in your stomach before making a night equipment jump.
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.