Home Equity Loan at the Casino

Home Equity Loan at the Casino

50” w x 46” h

Charcoal on paper

Private Collection, US

The drawing was inspired after my first visit to the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT. I was struck by the fact that near the main entry to the casino was a commercial bank readily available for quick cash for anyone with “empty pockets”. I would bet that there are many addicted gamblers who have emptied their pockets and then take equity loans against their residences, land holdings or other valuable assets without leaving the casino. Could this be the “Pequot’s Revenge” ?

Mobil Warriors

Mobil Warriors

57” h x 50” h

Charcoal on paper

Private Collection, UK

The Mobil Warriors – drawing was part of a larger series of drawings based on Desert Storm I and the Iraqi War. The replacement of military rifles with gas nozzles and the appearance of Bob Hope refers to the neo-conservative philosophy and objective that American power should be established, in this case, in the heart of the oil reserves in the middle east.

Disney Pox

Disney Pox

52” h x 46” w

Charcoal & collage on paper

Things are re-drawn, cleaned up, beautified. Uncomfortable facts are left out. Animals talk, dance and sing, and are never eaten. Women wear scant clothing, and never have to worry about scratches, stains or blood. This revision of history is an insidious plague, which threatens to wipe us out in the same way smallpox eradicated millions of Native American people in the 16th through 18th centuries.

Chop Chop

Chop Chop

102” w x 51” h

Charcoal & colored pencil on paper

Permanent Collection

Benton Museum of American Art

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

The drawing was inspired after viewing a photograph of Ted Turner, Jane Fonda and former president Jimmy Carter during an Atlanta Braves game participating in the "Atlanta Braves Chop-Chop". Thousand of fans, using styrofoam tomahawks, in repetitive chopping gestures, reveal a cultural and social ignorance of historical events which occurred in the southeastern U.S regions in the late 19th century. Thousands of native Creek Indians were either killed or displaced from their native habitats to reservations in Oklahoma. These terrible atrocities occurred under President Andrew Jackson's administration in 1863. 

Metacomet and the Royal Wampanoag Family

Metacomet and the Royal Wampanoag Family

48” h x 48” w

Charcoal on paper

Private Collection – Miami, FL

METACOM, (KING PHILIP) was the son of MASSASOIT, great sachem of the Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts who greeted the pilgrims in1620. After MASSASOIT's death in 1661, Metacom became the grand sachem of the Wampanoag and organized a federation of southern New England tribes in hopes of driving the colonists into the sea. In 1675-76 forty-six towns around Boston and several towns in the Connecticut valley were burned down. Due to many battles, and shortages of food, the number of his warriors declined, and the war turned in favor of the colonists.  Metacom was captured, shot and quartered by militia commanded by Fredrick Church. His quartered body parts were sent to governing officials in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.  His wife, Wootonekanuske and their son, were believed to have been sold into the West Indian slave trade.

The drawing of the royal family is placed over a map of the early New England Wampanoag territory.  It is meant to parallel the typical European portrait as a parody.

War Hawk

War Hawk

44” h x 48” w

Charcoal on paper

Permanent Collection

Middlesborough Museum of Art, Middlesborough England, UK 

The image of the WWII Curtiss P-40 was a famous aircraft flown against Japanese in China in the late 1930's. The purpose of the symbolically painted shark teeth emblem was to incite fear in the enemy. The aircraft reminds makes me of the early days of WWII in which movies promoted a cultural hysteria against our newest enemies, the Germans and Japanese. The history of American cinema has continuously shaped our national consciousness concerning war and war heroes. From the cowboy and gangster movie violence to Custer's last stand, we continue a long and continuous path of a cultural conscience of our superiority as a national power. Primitive weapons of the past become more and more sophisticated as exemplified by our love of the newest sophisticated firearms, drones, and missiles—the right to bear any and all arms.

Sun-Burn Soft-Heart Red-Men

Sun-Burn Soft-Heart Red-Men

48” h x 48” w

Charcoal on paper

In 1675-76, the King Phillip's War between the local native tribes and colonists ravaged over much of New England.  The earlier Pequot War 1635-36, between the alliance of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Connecticut colonies virtually eliminated the Pequot Nation of central New England. The son of Massasoit—Metacom, led the King Phillip’s War. His English name derived by his father was Phillip who was believed by the colonists as the instigator of the conflict. Phillips leading strategies coordinated the Wampanoag, Nipmuc, and Narragansett tribes.  Forty-six towns around Boston were burnt to the ground in the first year of the conflict and it appeared that Phillip's intention to drive the colonists from New England into the sea would occur. Due to the ravages of small pox and the loss of several military conflicts the tide began to turn in 1676 in favor of the colonists.

The leading brilliant military commander of the consolidated Native forces was a young 35-year-old Narragansett head chief named Canonochet. Early in the conflict, he was captured by a young militiaman and taken to Stonington Connecticut for hanging. On the gallows, he was asked if he wished to make a final statement. His response:  "I am happy to die before my heart gets soft...”

Stonington, CT on the shores of Long Island Sound, is today a center for retirees and tourists.  The town just west of Stonington is New London, the home of the U.S submarine base.

Assimilation of Charles Eastman

Assimilation of Charles Eastman

69” h x 51” w

Charcoal on paper

Charles Eastman, three quarter Sioux, was the grandson of painter George Eastman. Charles’s life was intrinsically bound up in the strong elements of both Native and Euro ethnicities. He was educated in an Indian Christian school in Illinois followed by his undergraduate training in Wisconsin and Dartmouth Colleges, and a PhD. from Boston University Medical School. In 1891 he served as the reservation doctor at Wounded Knee during the time of the Sioux massacre. In later years he founded the American Boy Scout movement and served as Theodore Roosevelt’s first U.S. Commissioner of Reservations.

His life was a continuous reflection of his immersion into two different world cultures. That assimilation and the process of acculturation galvanized the best elements of both worlds.

Making of Heroes

Making of Heroes

50.5” w x 55” h

Charcoal on paper

When growing up in the 1940's, one of the songs sung by our first grade class was:  "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition and We'll All Stay Free".  As a young boy in elementary school, I also spent many hours at the movies, modeling and drawing WW II aircraft. It interests me to think of all the methods in which youth are subtlety directed toward the shaping the National consciousness and Patriotism.  Marching bands, sports, scouting, modeling, all promote collective experiences necessary for successful military cohesion. This process is further developed by experiences derived from the press, television, and film. 

Pequot Bingo Bonus

Pequot Bingo Bonus

42” w x 50” h

Charcoal on paper

The drawing was inspired after attending an academic historical conference in the late 1980’s about the history of the Pequot Nation in Connecticut. The last day of the conference was held at their very gigantic “Bingo” facility which was the forerunner of their giant gambling casino “Foxwoods”. In the drawing, “Bingo Woman” is a self portrait of Peter in “drag” who has won the bonus. Her prize, on stage is to grab in a given time as many $ bills as possible that are being blown through the wind cube. The bottom of the box cube transitions into a garage next to a modern house in front of which stands a modern Pequot family, assimilated into the American way of life. Bingo Woman and the Pequot share the same goal of acquisition in a competitive society.

Resurrection of Bigfoot – Cheyenne

Resurrection of Bigfoot – Cheyenne

43.5” h x 46” w

Charcoal on paper

The drawing was inspired by a photograph of the frozen body of the Cheyenne chief, “Big Foot” taken the morning after the massacre and surrender of his tribe at Wounded Knee in 1891 by the remnants of Custer’s 7th Calvary unit. His frozen body seems to be in a state of spiritual repose.

Pequot Revenge

Pequot Revenge

59” w x 40” h

Charcoal on paper

In the early days of the Foxwoods Casino, I visited the new complex, located on the Pequot Reservation in Ledyard, CT. The Pequot tribe, having received their federal acceptance as a legitimate tribal nation, were now,  a free economic entity.  Profits from their new enterprise would change their social and economic status from "poverty" to "bliss"—an economic revenge in place of violent historical past in the early 17th century. In place of tribal objects, or evidence of substandard economic reality, we have barcaloungers, slippers, and the All American Pastime on a brand new TV.

Calvary Locusts (Sitting Bull’s Dream)

Calvary Locusts (Sitting Bull’s Dream)

50” h x 49” w

Charcoal on paper

Cavalry Locusts is based on the revelation of a dream that Chief Sitting Bull (Sioux) had, where advancing cavalry from across the plains looked like interlocked swarms of locusts.