Painting Completed April 2012
|On September 12, 1962, John F. Kennedy gave America an historical challenge. He said, "the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward." And later, "we choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win."
In less than seven years, on July 20, 1969, the whole world watched on television as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin unfurled the first flag on the Moon. It was a moment that will live in history forever, and in the collective memories of billions of humans 240,000 miles away on planet Earth.
I painted this first flag for my best friend Tom Kartsotis. Tom and I met in 1999 when he came to my studio to consider collecting a piece of my work. We became fast friends from day one. It was the same long ago with Pete Conrad.
Tom is a man of extraordinary creativity and integrity. He is a super successful entrepreneur and businessman and believes in my art enough to help promote it with significant time and money. Many of the successes I have had in my art career would not have happened without his friendship and support.
The first flag is hanging much like a curtain from a small extendable metal rod that Neil rotated up and locked in place at the top of the flagstaff. The flag had been stored, folded up accordion-style, and attached to the flagstaff and curtain rod, just prior to launch. He and Buzz then attempted to extend the rod and flag to its full length but without complete success. The creases in the shortened flag are still visible in my painting.
Apollo - the quest for the moon - was an impossible dream some 400,000 Americans, working together, made come true. Everyday I feel blessed to have been part of that great adventure.