American Armageddon

painting titled: American Armageddon  (full view)

American Armageddon (full view)

American Armageddon was created as a billboard. In 1969 was mounted on the garage of our rented house along side of the road that ran a short way into the mountains. There was not a lot of traffic but it soon became a small sensation with people driving up the road to view it.

Unfortunately an early and very cold winter snapped the polyester resin coating and moisture caused the artwork to  warp. The work was moved to the local bar in the canyon where it hung on the wall of the pool room for several years. The large round hole looks like a pool ball  punched a hole in the resin and the small hole was probably created by a pool cue.

The work was created with Koh-I-Noor ink, acrylic paint and resin on pasteboard laminated on plywood and, unfortunately, coated with polyester resin. Over the years the resin has begun to yellow. The dimensions inside the frame are 4 x 8 feet.

Later I was a reluctant hippy on the fringe of society.  We watched our leaders being blown away one by one with the assassination Martin Luther King,  Malcolm X,  John Lennon and all the accidental deaths of the witnesses of the Kennedy assassination. While we thought we were safe because we had dropped out of society, the first sign that there was a movement against hippydom was the conversion of the alternative FM radio stations.

In those early years of FM radio, the  bandwidth had opened up and a number of new FM stations began playing half hour tracks of the Doors and the Beatles without commercial interruption or the insipid three-minute songs. Those new FM stations were like the Internet of today, broadcasting love-ins  protests and marches and where to go to take part in those events. That information slowly faded away but first there was  the poison slipped in between the songs.

Hippydom was more than just dropping out and turning on. It was a vast revolution of the mind, an exploration into alternative ways of thinking and values. Not all the experiments worked and for all the judgment and hippier-than-thou-ness it was still based on the optimism that humankind could move from consumption and exploitation to hope and creativity.

So when these radio stations which we trusted as our beacons in the void began broadcasting advertisements for banking and same old rhetoric of the early monetization of everything, we knew it was over and that we had been sold out.

Painting titled American Armageddon (detail of top center view)

American Armageddon (detail: top center view)

Painting titled: American Armageddon (detail lower center view)

American Armageddon (detail lower center view)

Painting titled: American Armageddon (detail upper view right)

American Armageddon (detail upper view right)

Painting titled: American Armageddon (detail upper view right)

American Armageddon (detail lower view right)

Painting titled: American Armageddon (detail lower center view)

American Armageddon (detail center view)

Painting titled: American Armageddon (detail lower screen left view)

American Armageddon (detail lower screen left view)

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Mouth of American Gun

Revised version of the commentary for Mouth of American Gun.

Painting titled; American Gun (full view)

Mouth of American Gun (full view)

This work was created as a reaction to the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968. The medium is Koh-I-Noor ink, acrylic paint and resin on pasteboard laminated on plywood. The dimensions are 5 x 7 feet.

The work represents the violence of American society both real and that which is expressed in our entertainment and our archetypes.

For my generation, the first strike against America was the assassination of President Kennedy. The reaction to that event was grief and loss. On the night of that terrible day both my roommate and I expressed our hopelessness by racing some nameless driver down a freeway through a construction zone at 95 miles and hour. The arresting officers let us go, probably as depressed and confused as we were. All of us in tears on that empty freeway. Not only had the President of the United States died but faith in the office of the President died as well. For an uneventful college student it was the end of a faith in the distant mechanics of our government. Something else had climbed into the saddle.

Even far more sinister was the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy, which took place four years later. American Gun was born on the floor of a medical research lab during my slow days running FSH tests for the clinic. It was my ineffable reaction to the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. His assassination signified that the plan to take control of America was marching relentlessly forward and taking place very close to home.

Painting titled: Mouth of american Gun. Detail: lower center)

Mouth of American Gun (detail: lower center)

Image of painting titled: Mouth of American Gun (detail center left)

Mouth of American Gun (detail center left)

Painting titled: Mouth of American Gun (detail: upper center)

Mouth of American Gun (detail: upper center)

Painting titled: Mouth of American Gun (detail:  lower screen right)

Mouth of American Gun (detail: lower screen right)