Month: September 2015

N.E.W. SHOW @ VAE and “TUSKEGEE”: In Process

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.08.54 PM

Thanks to all at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh for a wonderful show these past few weeks!  Brandon and the rest of the crew did an awesome job with this one.  Photographs of the show are located on Flickr HERE  The Treasure Ship (on the left part of the image) looks great in the space.  Also: thanks to the judge: David TerryDirector of Programs and CuratorNew York Foundation for the Arts. for choosing my work!

 

I’ve been busy creating the latest piece, Tuskegee, to submit for ARTFIELDS 2016!  I always have many questions from gallery patrons about my process: “How did you come up with that?” is usually the one I get the most.  I want to show you some of the “behind the scenes” of what it takes to construct my resin pieces.(really, wood shop came in handy, students!)   First, I have to build the resin mold.  It’s has to be pretty “tight” not to let any of that resin leak out.  Besides, I want to use as much resin as possible for this artwork…IT’S HUGE!

Base Frame for Resin Mold_1Franky fits in the Mold!Taking a well needed break and giving you some perspective on size…yep, I’m BEAT!

 

Next, it’s off to more dirty and messy work: Resin Pouring.  Since this one is really large, I had to make several pours of resin to get the correct thickness and coverage of the mold. The heat gun removes all the tiny bubbles that come from the combination of chemicals…safety goggles were on previously when mixing and pouring, but not for the heat-gun stage. Gloves and a Respirator, a must.  Thank you to my son, Grant, for taking good “direction” and great photographs while I was working!

3_Tuskegee_Heat-Gun_1

So, to get you up to date, I’ve started my first layer:  Blue and Teal.  Here, one of the Red Tail “Mustangs” are starting to appear.

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Artfields 2016 & ” The Tuskegee Airmen”

The Tuskegee Airmen:  The name evokes thoughts of courageous men, now coined by Tom Brokaw as “The Greatest Generation”.  Their title is also synonymous with words like: honor, fearless and undaunted (Kids these days may think of the “Divergent Movie/Book Series with the group “Dauntless”.)  I can appreciate the sacrifices they made during World War II.  As was the war, they fought a war of two fronts: The overseas physical battle against the Nazi machine in Europe and a battle against the bigotry and a mentality of their own country’s deep seeded segregated social policies.

So how does a middle aged white guy get involved, let alone interested, with the first, all African-American military aviator group in the US?  Answer: George Lucas, of course.  I’ve always been interested about what “good ‘ol Uncle George” was going to do after his “retirement” from the Star Wars franchise.  I heard rumblings that he was going to do Avante-Garde / Experimental films that “would only be seen in small, unknown theaters.”  (Heck, he may be doing that right now.  If he is, I wish him luck.  Drop me a line so I can see one of them, ok George?) Then, I started hearing more about a WWII film about aviators… an all black unit…a movie titled: RED TAILS.  I had to see it.  What was all the fuss about?  Why were these guys so important?

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The film stuck with me (but got panned by critics. Sorry, George.) It reminded me that men…wait PEOPLE, no matter what the color, really know what’s important when all is placed on the line. I guess that made me realize about how important these guys were; not only to African-Americans, but also to America as a country.  They truly are an American story: the underdogs, the “come from behind” heroes…winners! So, for Artfields 2016, I decided to do a piece with them in mind.

 

I started researching images on the internet and found that the Library of Congress had several really cool pictures: Pilots by planes, Pilots at a briefing… then something caught my eye…Pilots_of_the_332nd_Fighter_Group copy

Tuskegee_Airmen_332nd_Fighter_Group_pilots_ppmsca13245u copy

 

THREE MEN ON A RUNWAY

Maybe it was the pose, the angle of the shot, I don’t know.  These guys were different.  They weren’t the notable aviators, but the ground crew…mechanics.  These were the guys who kept the Red Tails flying. Without them, there wouldn’t be any Red Tails.  I thought it would be great to have them as the subject of an art piece.  They really were the “underdogs behind the underdogs”!  They reminded me of my dad, who was a mechanic too.  He saved my “bacon” plenty of times, by keeping our old cars running when I was a teenager.  I guess I could appreciate the ground crew of the Tuskegee Airmen: because they were just a tough and gritty as those pilots.  They should be recognized as heroes too…I want people to know (and my students as well) that these guys were just as cool (and as important) as those Red Tails in the sky!

T-Men_Ground Crew

 

So, it’s off to Artfields we go! I’ll let you know how the piece is progressing…I think it may be the biggest one I’ve ever created…a “monster-piece”!  Tune in for updates…

“The Treasure Ship” @ Visual Art Exchange

N.E.W. Show @ Visual Art Exchange - Raleigh, North Carolina 9-4-15 / "The Treasure Ship"

N.E.W. Show @ Visual Art Exchange – Raleigh, North Carolina 9-4-15 / “The Treasure Ship”

What a night at Visual Art Exchange!  So many people out in the West Martin Street area.  “The Treasure Ship” looks wonderful in the gallery, all lit up. My family met up with our friends: Tristen, Bryton and Matthew for a tour of the C.A.M. as well as the V.A.E. Just before that, we had some delicious “Hot Truck”: Chicken Tacos and a “Porchetta” sandwich (MMMMMMM!)   It was a meeting of the VANS before the tour (no, I don’t receive any commission for that plug!)  Can you guess who had which shoes on?  What type of Vans will I have at the next Gallery opening…find out next month when we’ll stop by the Durham Art Guild.

VANS-at-VAE

 

We also saw some great kinetic sculptures by Kevin Duval at 311 West Martin Street Galleries. After speaking with the artist, he told me that several of his fabricated metal sculptures were created from reclaimed metals as well as “found” ones.  All in all, a GREAT FIRST FRIDAY in Raleigh!