Baggage of War: once carried never put downArchivesOriginals
A dear British Veteran friend who often helps me to help others is responsible for this. He is trusting me to design his tattoo, it’s going to be a process but to start with I produced this piece which encompassed all that was important to him.
As I worked I felt this heaviness: the kit of war. As I searched through old photographs of soldiers through the centuries I studied their kit. The shape and type changes over the years, but one thing never does. Once a soldier has picked up his kit and gone to war he will never put it down. It will always be there on his back.
My dearest friend and hero in life told me once, “You were so little during that war, you won’t remember but each bullet was precious. We had to carry everything we’d need, everything and we never knew when we’d get back or be relieved, there was no back up.”
I have never forgotten that.
Remembering that war I knew what he meant. You don’t waste a bullet.
There is something triumphant in this painting too – the smoke plume is in the shape of a skull because the chopper has delivered the gift of death to the enemy. Through this painting you can see WWI, WWII and other wars depicted, referenced. It is a soldiers painting, it speaks to their experience, their memories and that of others before them.
Lest we forget.