Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Important Day of the Year

The Fourth of July is a very important day for a variety of reasons that affect almost everyone.  The declaration of that day was a starting point of our nation, and for good and bad, the United States of America has had a huge effect on almost everyone in the world.  And for those of us who live in this country, it is practically a holy day.  Like religious holy days, it comes with a whole bunch of associated things that have nothing to do with the origin of our country, but are still enjoyed by many people.  Like fireworks, a big custom associated with this holiday.  Every town around here has its own show, so if you miss your local one, you can catch another.  I watched a show from my kitchen window the other day, seen over the rooftop of the next building, between a couple of tall leafy trees. We are several days into a long heat wave, no rain in sight, so nothing to interfere with all the local fireworks shows.  When I was creating a fictitious nighttime boardwalk scene, of course I put a fireworks display as part of it.

For myself, the Fourth of July also refers to my largest single body of work, the woodcut series of the same name, created from 1993 to 1994.  Very little of the series is about anything specific to that day on the calendar, but since it was done in the years when I was in the midwest completing my college education, I consider it to be my first "american" work, by which I mean a piece about the American experience in general.  For example, the boardwalk series is about the boardwalk experience, a coastal phenomenon.  The Ecclesiastes series is about all mankind and the world and the history of civilization.  But the Fourth of July series is about life in America.  Being my life, it's a bit heavy on art, but it's also about cars, and trains, and highways, and farms, and corn on the cob (which I ate today at my brother's holiday cookout), and diners. and county fairs, and laboring, and farming, and interaction with immigrants, and shopping in big box stores and local rural stores, and everything else that can happen in a year.  The link embedded at the top of this paragraph can take you to the series if you need to see it.

Happy Fourth of July!


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