Here is the final illustration for the Global Strike Command, the command which replaces SAC at Barksdale, AFB in Shreveport, LA. My hope is that it will be housed at the command headquarters' lobby there on base. It was shipped along with another large painting just a few days ago and its placement is now in the hands of the Air Force brass. Closeups of the unfinished portraits are included in an early post entitled, Barksdale Painting/ On the up side of downhill...
This piece has gone through many conceptual sketches, adjustments, photo shoots and soul searching. I have only included three conceptual adjustments for this blog. In the original Photoshop design, an airman mentioned that the cloud which holds the airbase's logo, the fleur de lis, looked like a mushroom cloud. I nearly fainted! Another concern, was the glow emanating from the globe cast a ominous shadow onto the main character's face even further highlighting an aggressive, "don't tread on me" stance. Again, not exactly what I wanted to convey. In a beginning home photo shoot, I posed myself in various illuminated stances, looking up as I am bent over the "world" in a protective posture. With a football helmet on, that pose would have made it impossible to even see the pilot's eyes.
Take the symmetry out, create an edge with only one or no bombers, include all the patches of the support groups floating in the clouds or show only four to represent the main ones. How to pose the hands to say what I wanted to say but avoid the insurance company's "good hands" idea. How many women to display and ethnic groups to use to represent which support groups. Political overtones I never envisioned started to pop up everywhere. Someone else mentioned that the design had a heroic, movie poster look, which I hadn't anticipated either, but didn't object to. In the end, after about eighty plus hours of planning and painting, I feel quite happy with the results. What do you think?
A final pencil sketch from the fourth concept, me as bad ass protector, and a photoshop follow up.
Here is a picture of one of the crew members and an excerpt from an email reassuring me that my illustrative interpretation of what these brave men and women do for a living protecting us met with their approval. ( Curly was my code name for the flight and briefings! ) Here's her comment...
Funny Zach "Samson" Miller and Mehul "Verde" Brahmbhatt and I were talking today about how we haven't heard anything in forever from y'all. We know that the big hoorah is in Dayton sometime in October and we were thinking we might be able to swing a trip up there. Can you email me the dates, events, etc. so we can start working that? Its so cool to see the finished product, I mean I was so amazed by your original sketches, but now after seeing your final piece I'm speechless. You have a phenomenal talent! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.