Born: Chicago, Illinois 1938 U.S. Navy, Quartermaster 2nd Class 1943-1945
From the Artist:
In 1945, World War II ended with the climax of the atomic bombing of Japan. I was seven years old. Many veterans were returning home from faraway places and battlefields to the southwest side Chicago neighborhood where I grew up. The Pacific and its islands’ names–Bougainville, Vella Lavella, Kolombangara, Tulagi, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Kwajalein–seemed exotic and full of mystery. The vets came back with arms tattooed and memories etched upon their faces. They gave neighborhood kids mementos and souvenirs of their wars: enemy helmets, clothing, flags, medals, and bayonets–objects mostly taken in battle. Anything with bloodstains was held in awe and highly prized. We played with these trophies in our own battles, fought in empty lots with mud and rocks.
The stories I heard seared my memory and burned my imagination. I would awaken in the middle of the night to pull a treasured box from under my bed and carry it to the window, where I would touch these relics in the moonlight. My mind traced their paths–imagining the men who wore and carried them.
Now I look through time as an adult. There were terrible atrocities committed by the Japanese, but I recognize that there was pain, suffering, and loss endured on both sides of the Pacific. These paintings are an attempt to capture in art a few of the traumatic events and happenings of the Pacific War and to reflect on the feelings and emotions of both the Allies and the Japanese. The series was created with great admiration and respect for those men and women who lived in that time and experienced pain of the flesh and heart. These paintings are memorials to them.
World War II has been a powerful influence on my life. My uncles served in the war, and their service inspired me to join the Navy (1956-1959). As early memories merged with adult understanding, WWII became a thread that has run through my life and work as an artist.