Thursday, June 30, 2011
Symbolic Stars & Stripes
As we approach this all-American holiday weekend I was remembering that I had painted elements from the flag in my illustration for the Utah Opera's production of the "Grapes of Wrath". This is a truly American story of persevering through hard times. My illustration portrays Tom Joad alone against a landscape that cuts through him as a symbol of his dependence on the land for his very life. The parched colors of that landscape portray how the drought of the 1930s has made his life impossible. A simple house that sits alone in the background was his family’s home, now left behind. Small overloaded farm trucks travel under the big sky and across the dusty brown and ochre ribbons of plowed land that become the stripes and stars of the American flag, the promise of a better life. Joad is dominant in the center of the illustration, symbolizing the strength and will of the dust bowl migrants. The billowing clouds overhead represent hope and possibility.