Iron Sam

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Project Description

Iron Sam

Original Acrylic on Board
Image: 40″ x 30″
Framed: 52″ x 42″

Giclee Print on Mounted Canvas
Edition of 300 S/N
Image: 30″ x 24″

I have been accused lately of being in a “red, white and blue” artistic period, but it’s only a coincidence. I love folk art as subject matter, and some of the greatest folk art pieces have patriotic themes, with various images of “Uncle Sam” prominently featured. So, of course, they are generally red, white and blue. One of my favorite pieces, which I painted in 2005, called “Bay Rider”, includes the famous weathervane/whirligig featuring Sam on a bike. I had been thinking of using that weathervane in a painting for a long time, and it turned out to be a very popular painting.

The same goes for “Iron Sam.” I have seen two of these cast iron carnival or arcade figures, both owned by Ricco-Maresca Gallery in New York. They were both made by  Howard Machine Manufacturing Co. in New England around 1900. They are coin operated strength testers. A coin is inserted in a slot in Sam’s lapel and his hand is squeezed by the player. The gauge registers how strong the player is.

I spent nearly 8 weeks on this painting, with some fidelity to the actual figure along with some of my own embellishments and touches. I would love to have the actual cast iron figure in my folk art collection, but having the painting is the next best thing. I may decide to keep this one.

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