Honoring The Spirit: Remembering Iwo Jima
Permanent Collection of The National Museum of The Marine Corps.
In 2010, I was commissioned to create a memorial for survivors of The Battle of Iwo Jima. Seven veterans from my hometown all fought in this infamous World War II battle, and all seven survived and lived out their lives right where I grew up.
I met with the veterans, listened to their stories of war and did my best to transform their emotions, their memories, and their nearly untold stories on to canvas. I wanted to create an icon, an image that embodies and communicates the hope these men felt in their hearts and the fears they faced in a foreign land.
They told me stories they had hardly ever spoken before... stories of the night, and of surviving a living hell. What these men lived through was nearly unimaginable. I asked one of the veteran's "when did you actually think that you might make it off the island?" He replied, "when I was on the boat on the way home..."
For me a painting is a medium to create a vision into another time and place. Whether that is a memorial of the past, or a passionate desire for the future, both are incredibly strong feelings, both incredibly strong emotions: Gratitude, Love, Longing, Hope, Desire, Nostalgia... these are the real material that a painting is made from. I am simply there to solidify those feelings into a material and visual form.
This painting is now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico VA where I delivered an in depth Artist Talk on the piece, and was featured in the Boston Globe.
The Hoyts: A Father's Love For His Son
Commissioned by The Easter Seals of Massachusetts
In 2013 Dick and Rick Hoyt celebrated their 30th running of the Boston Marathon. It was a landmark event for them and also was the occasion of Rick Hoyt's 50th Birthday. To commemorate the event The Easter Seals of Massachusetts commissioned me to create a memorial work for them that represented, not just their striving and inspirational spirit, but also their love... that connection that drives them on mile after mile.
The painting was completed in the winter months when Dick and Rick had time to sit for me. It's true that they don't stay put for very long... but for me they made an exception. They modeled countless hours together and individually so we could get every detail just right.
Rick and Dick, I found, are made of inspiration and integrity right down to the bone. Part of the pleasure for me in doing a commissioned portrait like this is the time that I spend with my subject. Getting to know someone is always a joy.
When you create something together it forms quite a special bond... a bond that lives on in the painting and in your heart. These two gentlemen are the real deal and I am proud to know them.