We received an interesting email in the middle of November from a group described below and it feels like a feel good project.
[HAS HEART] is a Michigan-based, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2011 as “Fashion Has Heart” by 8-year U.S. Veteran, Michael Hyacinthe and artist/designer, Tyler Way. Originally united over a cup of coffee in 2010, they quickly discovered the disconnect between their two worlds.
They realized the power of the creative process once Michael met a local quadriplegic Marine who loved t-shirts and asked Tyler to co-create a design that shared his story. Since then, the HERO[series] has continued to pair Veterans with designers for the shared mission to tell their story through the mediums of art, design, and fashion.
Typically, they go through a local AIGA chapter, but there isn't one in Delaware. I think this might be the first time I've thought of that as a positive. Searching the web for creative connection, they found Lead Graffiti. We only got our new website up about 2 weeks ago, so it appears to be working just fine.
The 51+ designs (all states and Washington, DC) and their stories will be compiled and published in a coffee table book, curated into a traveling art museum exhibit, and produced into a collection of American-made consumer products whose proceeds will benefit the veterans who co-designed them.
We set up for them to visit us November 30 / December 1.
Over the next two weeks, there were communication problems between [HAS] HEART and Delaware veteran groups, and they never found a veteran to work with us. So, we set about to figure out how we could work around it, turning a negative into a positive.
After Jill and I talked about it for a day, we realized that each of our father's had been in WWII and neither had ever talked about those experiences. Jill knew that her father had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. This from Wikipedia
"(16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg, towards the end of World War II. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany's armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them."
Of the 600,000 American involved in the battle, 89,000 were casualties. Honestly, it sounds like an experience you might not want to be induced to remember.
Ray's father had told one brother-in-law that he had done the artist's conception of the Atomic Bomb. We've done some sleuthing, but have neither been able to find information for or against that piece of information, but what an astounding possible connection to the war effort.
The Trinity Test. At 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1945, Los Alamos scientists detonated a plutonium bomb at a test site located on the U.S. Air Force base at Alamogordo, New Mexico, some 120 miles south of Albuquerque. -- Wikipedia
My father was discharged on 2 January, 1946, so that fits the timeframe. Clovis, New Mexico is about 225 miles from the Clovis Air Force base where he was based.
So, Jill and I told the starts of those stories for our veteran fathers, to build on the concept we presented to [HAS] HEART to substitute for the expected collaboration between veterans and creatives. We want to encourage veterans to tell their stories and especially to their family. Perhaps Jill's father just didn't want to think or be reminded about a terrible month in terrible conditions. Ray's father would have signed a non-disclosure agreement that he would take to his grave.
The concept of our contribution is "no untold stories." The image at the top is a Werkman sketch of where our creative ideas were the afternoon of the 2nd day. We wanted to utilize the techniques from our H.N. Werkman Creative Letterpress workshop as a way to connect letterpress to the final design. Werkman was executed by Germany only 3 days before his city was liberated and it felt important to add him to our storytelling process.
The image at the top was the piece that we supplied as a kind of sketch of how the piece could work out. We'll do a couple more versions, working with the "untold stories" and the "quote marks" before we'll settle on a finished version for the #50stateshasheart project.
It was great fun working with Tyler Way and Kendra Clapp Olguin for the two days. I hope it was a memorable experience for them. It was also nice to get Newark, Delaware's name in lights a bit.