The only semi serious injury I received as a child required 5 stitches on the palm of my hand for a gash gotten in the thick of battle in woods behind my cousins’ house. A particularly well placed stick didn’t serve to break my fall as well as I thought it would. Fast forward a few weeks and I, a very nervous 8 year old was promised a trip to see Star Wars if I would “be brave and not cry” when I got my stitches taken out. I was neither. My tears and fears were ferocious until the doctor said “they’re out.” I hadn’t even felt the procedure but I was still going to see Star Wars.
The power of myth is often counted as an underpinning to the Star Wars movies but that power is nothing like the workings of an 8 year old imagination. Star Wars and other toys from my childhood still hold a magic sway over my memory and nostalgia as the echoes of my child’s imagination cascade into my adult life.
The paintings from the American Icon series strive to capture an element of that belief with a touch of whimsy and nostalgia mixed into the stew for full flavor. Iconic, yet undeniably mass produced, the toys and accoutrements from my formative years still hold their power. Those millions of plastic toys have little intrinsic ability to do anything but age into a slightly yellowed state. The association of memory, both my own and collectively lifts them into the Pantheon of cherished things.
In fact, I still cringe thinking of my kindergarten comrades flying my just gotten plastic x-wing fighter into the depths and death of the sand pile, effectively rendering its meager electronics useless. With some ebay luck I’ll have a painting soon of that ill fated toy and the nostalgic circle will be complete.