Uncle Sam’s Curtain Call

The statue of Liberty, the stars and stripes, apple pie, of all the symbols of America Uncle Sam is one of the most beloved.  Technically Uncle Sam is not just a symbol, but a personification of our nation. In other words if America was an actual person we would be a an older white guy sporting a long beard and  rocking a crazy red, white and blue suit. Of course this is wildly inaccurate, especially today,  but this is only one symbol  of our country so I wont get into that.

Curtain Call by Michael Owens 2008, Oil pastel on paper

Curtain Call by Michael Owens 2008, Oil pastel on paper

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Instead I’m going to talk about my use of Uncle Sam imagery in my artwork, which comes natural to me because I call myself a political artist primarily. My intention with the above image Curtain Call was to make fun of  what goes in Washington, our capital. I wanted to show an American government that is only into itself, portraying itself to be something it is not; concerned with its citizens. When I happened to see an image of business man with his head literally stuck up his ass,  I said aha! That’s it! That’s what I need to do.  


The drawing is made from oil pastels, I don’t recall what brand, probably Rembnrandt. Pastels were new to me at the time and I experimented with various brands.  Even though Curtain Call  was one of my first attempts at using oil pastels I think the final result was pretty good.  Uncle Sam is still recognizable, even though his suit is mostly yellow, red and blue because I wanted to use a primary color scheme. I wanted to  avoid using pure white, because I thought might overpower the image and take away from the “quirky” atmosphere I was trying to create. 

Please comment below, let me hear what you think!


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