July 4th was a big day at my house. We had a quite the celebration, with hordes of family and friends fueled by great food cooked on the grill and a massive fireworks display after a beautiful South Carolina sunset. As much as I love the festivities surrounding the 4th, I found myself reflecting on the freedoms we enjoy here in America, especially in an election year when passions can run high. And I think we can all agree that the world feels a little crazy right now. We’re bombarded with crisis after calamity that come and go as quickly as the next news cycle. There's a lot going on in the world! It's times like these when the patriotic images of our nation are more important than ever. They remind us of who we are, remind us of the sacrifices and courage of the men and women who came before us. They're powerful symbols that bind us together on good days and bad. That’s really the inspiration behind my Patriotic designs. It’s not just another “brand” I’ve created; it’s what I believe, who I try to be. And it’s about family, it’s how I was raised and what I want to pass on to my kids and grandkids. Of course I use a lot of the standard iconic themes in my Patriotic art, eagles and heroes and Uncle Sam. But I like to have fun with it too! Who can resist a flagwaving Snoopy in a red-white-and-blue-top hat! And no matter the image, every piece has the signature combination of folkart elements and motifs I use in my work, quilt patterns and rosemaling designs inspired by traditions that go back to colonial times and before.
They’re visual reminders of our shared heritage, a unifying spirit, creating something new and valuable based on familiar images celebrating our past. I hear all the time—on the Internet and when I travel—that people have a definite favorite patriotic design. They love to talk about it and explore their own thoughts about our history, remembering the courage and sacrifice needed to build a nation from the ground up. I see and hear that spirit all around me, the love of country and a sense of shared purpose and responsibility passed down in families from generation to generation. And I’m not just talking about great acts of heroism! I see it in neighbor helping neighbor, in people coming together for the common good. It’s an American tradition that inspires my art and gives me hope for the future.
God bless, Jim