Robert Rodriguez fineartprintsca

The art and interests of Robert Rodriguez

Tag: Liquor Posters

WPA Hurricane Memorial

Memorial in Islamorada, Florida designed by the Federal Art Project, 1937

Memorial in Islamorada, Florida designed by the Federal Art Project, 1937

A little history…in 1932 some 43,000 marchers (about 17,000 were WWI veterans and their families) camped out in Washington, D.C. demanding early payment of their military bonuses.  The Depression had been running its course for a few years and most of these people were desperate for their money.  President Hoover ordered the military in, and the whole thing situation went to hell.  This was one of the reasons for Hoover’s defeat by Roosevelt a year later.  When confronted by another Bonus March soon after his election, Roosevelt offered them the chance to work for the CCC , which most of them accepted.  So in 1935, when one of the strongest hurricanes in US history was approaching the Florida Keys, there were about 400 Bonus Army veterans and their families living in ramshackle camps that no one thought to evacuate until the last minute.  A train was sent to save them on September 2, the hurricane struck on September 2, the train was destroyed on September 2, en route, with only the locomotive surviving and managing to arrive hours later to save the workers.  The Florida Division of the Federal Arts Project designed this memorial to hold the ashes of the 200 victims of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane.

I was looking for photos of hurricanes from space, as reference for my Tales of the Cocktail poster, and came across this amazing story and amazing bas-relief carving.

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Colorful Expressions

TOCtest

With the decision to concentrate on the more graphic shapes and simplified design of the woman, color was the next step to resolve.  I wanted it to be sophisticated and bright, and I wanted the Hurricane cocktail to read well against the background colors.  So I did a series of color studies and went through the set, discarding the ones I didn’t want.  I actually liked them all for different reasons, but choices had to be made.  There was a reckless moment there when I considered doing a poster of all the various color versions laid out like my color composite above.  But that passed quickly, and I resolved to settle on three variations.  I miss working with other artists and asking for their suggestions.  I can’t say I always took their suggestions, but as soon as they started to answer, I would find myself hoping they would pick a certain one, and then I knew which one I liked myself.  Here are the three finalists.  I am already working on the finished art, so I will make my decision very soon.

The judgement of Paris

The judgement of Paris

Homing In

Okay, so paring it down to the main elements, and also focusing more on the theme was my way to work through this.  Hurricanes!  A tricky image when you relate it to New Orleans post-Katrina.  Not a lot of humor there.  But I wanted it to be very graphic (as in simplified design, not carnage) and that would remove it a bit from being too much of a documentary on hurricanes.  I came up with four images and decided to choose from one of them.

Four final concepts to choose from

Four final concepts to choose from

I had already decided on the second one from the right and had started painting.  It was almost a third of the way finished, but I just wasn’t excited about it because I wanted to go more graphic and she didn’t seem to work unless I started painting very classically.  I really liked the pegasus/satyr on the right, but what does that have to do with cocktails or hurricanes?  So I kept coming back to the woman in the center.  She was graphic, majestic, honoring the Hurricane cocktail, and I liked her.  My decision was made and all I had to do was decide on the colors…