The confederate battle flag was not just the banner flown by an army fighting for the right to own black people, it was also the banner that was revived and waved by those who opposed desegregation and civil rights.
In honor of the centennial celebration of the Civil War in 1961, South Carolina decided to raise the confederate battle flag over the state house. No black people were on the commission that made that decision.
Not only were they not on that commission, but South Carolina did not allow any black people to participate in their hosting of the national festivities. JFK tried to force the South Carolinians by moving the festivities to an integrated Navy base in Charleston, but the white people led a walk out and held their own official celebration in a segregated hotel. In that celebration Strom Thurmond gave a speech saying integration was evil and that the US Constitution never promised racial equality.
That is when that flag went up on the South Carolina capitol building. Black people (and some allies) have been asking for that flag to come down ever since. Those in authority continually refused.
On June 17th, 2015 a white supremacist murdered 9 black worshipers in a Charleston church. In the subsequent outcry against violent racism, there was some talk of the flag coming down. Those in authority thought they might allow it.
On June 27, 2015 a full 54 years after that flag went up, a black woman named Bree Newsome climbed the 30 foot flag pole and tore the flag down in defiance of the police who waited below to arrest her. She refused to wait for some democratic action to recognize her humanity when God had granted it from birth.
She was of course arrested when she came back down.
On July 9th the SC House of Representatives voted to remove the confederate battle flag in some seemingly gracious act of conciliation. It was an act that came not only 23 days too late, but 54 years overdue.
Bree, in her act of theater, gave America a symbol illustrating bravery and self determination in blackness.
Here is my nod to you Bree Newsome.
Matthew Miller is a semi-nomadic menswear illustrator. He is the only one I have ever met, which is according to him, because he is the only one. This is probably true. Now there may be some illustrators who work in fashion including menswear, or some semi-nomads who also paint, but I believe Matt when he says he is the only one who actually makes a living off of doing just that one thing-menswear illustration. This making a living thing is important here because by all accounts he does in fact make one and is semi-nomadic because he can be and not because he is homeless. I have not done any market research or investigation of my own, mostly because I don’t care; I just find his work and his story interesting.
Miller is a Midwestern kid who was always into art and when he came of age he decided to go off to college. No one in his family had ever been to college before so when he chose to go to art school as opposed to business or pre-law, no one was concerned. It was after all, still college. It was while at SCAD in Atlanta that the artist took an interest in clothing. Oddly enough this interest started with his first pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars. They were the first item of clothing he loved and he wore them to death. He has since learned to love hats and watches as well. And as is the case with most artists who are young and not yet financially burdened, he painted what he loved.
Now comes the interesting part.
This young art student started walking into menswear shops and pitching his work. It worked. He painted for H. Stockton, did a bit of blogging via Instagram and such, till Marcus Troy invited him to a trade show and ta-da, he was a professional. Now he does work for Maurice Lacroix, Carlos Santos, ONS Clothing, and M. Gemi. Thanks to these folks Miller and his companion have been globetrotting, painting, and if our meeting at LA’s Grand Central Market is any indication, they have been generally enjoying themselves.
Miller does not present himself as a menswear expert, nor am I convinced he is trying to become one. He did not pontificate on this aesthetic or that, nor did he critique my shoes. He did say he thinks watches are “magical” but I think he was talking about gears not fashion.
Leatherhead Sports makes hand made footballs and rugby balls. They are the coolest. I thought they should have an illustration equally as cool.
I like to think Leyendecker would be flattered.
Painting once again. 18×26 acrylic on canvas
I’ve been in the studio quite a bit as of late. Here is why…
Today I launch a new blog, not instead, but in addition to this one. www.dalynart.com
I have long loved the advertising illustration of times past. When I have looked back at Leyendecker or others of that time I am amazed that the work, meant as a modern advertisement, could still look so appealing; not dated.
Of course most don’t wear straw boater hats today but after viewing these ads, one might want to. There are of course great ads out today, but these old ones were done with a brush.
So are mine.
It feels appropriate to kick it off with the blog that started the menswear or fashion blogging craze that exists today, Scott Schuman of the Sartorialist.
As I’ve spoken with other bloggers, successful ones, there was a common theme; they saw the sartorialist, loved it, and were inspired to do something of their own.
I make no claims to being a Leyendecker, Rockwell, or Eakins, but I will be posting illustrations of blogs, bloggers, brands, or others, that I think deserve a hand painted ode to when things had style and beauty.
Enjoy… and tell a friend.
Filed under events, people