Hood ornaments, also known as automobile mascots, are mostly non-existent on the cars of today. For the cars of the 20’s and 30’s though, a shiny mascot on the end of your hood let everyone know you had arrived. Artists, like famed glass craftsman Renee Lalique, and sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes, created windswept figurines for several European automobiles that helped define their luxury brands. US auto manufacturers were quick to emulate their stately rivals by decorating the radiator caps of their vehicles with everything from leaping animals to Native American Figureheads. Even utilitarian vehicles like a 1936 Chevy pick up truck could be elevated when sporting a graceful and aerodynamic bird in flight.
The surge of ocean water that inundated areas of the New Jersey coastline during Hurricane Sandy, wreaked havoc on man-made structures and scattered the debris far and wide. It also gouged the earth, revealing buried artifacts -from sunken ships to lost beach toys. During the initial inspection of my parent’s home following the disaster, I found two old toy sand shovels amongst the pile of splintered wood and building material that had accumulated under the house. I don’t know if the shovels were swept-up and re-deposited there, or if they were uncovered by the storm surge, but I collected them and placed the toy tools in the house as souvenirs of the recovery.
A new year and a renewed commitment to carve out small chunks of studio time each week for drawing. I have the discipline and desire, but lately it feels as though there are greater adversarial forces at work. The flood damage I experienced in that Fall of 2011 put my creativity on hold for several months while I repaired my home and studio…and this year, a similar fate befell my parents. In late October, their home was ruined when Hurricane Sandy tore through the Jersey Shore. Although it is not the home that I grew up in, it was filled with memories of grandchildren at the beach and cruising Barnegat Bay in my Dad’s boat. Fortunately, the structure of the house remained intact and rebuilding has begun in earnest. My Dad has been tireless and my brothers and I have been at the property most every weekend, from demolition to renovation. Much of my time there has been spent under the house, removing waterlogged insulation and damaged electrical wiring while clad in homemade spelunking gear. There is still so much to do, but for one night a week, I can steal away some time, take pen in hand and create an image.