His Story + Her Story = HISTORY 24″ X 30″ – Oil on Panel
Painting #45 brings to life a photo taken in 1945 just after it was announced that Japan had surrendered.
Two people who did not know each other before or after the famous kiss happened to converge in Times Square at the exact same moment in time. The celebration had begun and the streets were filling with people laughing, smiling, and outward celebrating the good news. Greta Zimmer was standing still amongst the chaos looking up at the lit sign on the Times Building that read “VJ, VJ, VJ, VJ”, when she found herself suddenly in the grasp of an unknown man who bent her backward and kissed her. It took approximately 4 seconds, but the moment was caught on film and eventually became the image that summed up the happiness for all America that World War II was one step closer to being over.
Now as with anything you read on the internet today, there are differing opinions as to who the male in the photo actually is. Some article will tell you it was Glenn McDuffy a Gunner in the Navy. There have even been detailed CSI-like forensic investigations that came to the conclusion that it Mr McDuffy’s facial bone structure matched that of the man in the photo. Another claim was made by George Mendosa who was a Petty Officer First Class in the Navy at the time. Both of them claim whole heartedly that it was them, and they support their claims with very minute details of the days’ events leading up to and away from the famous kiss.
The real story may never be fully known as all parties in the photo, as well as the man who took the photo have passed away. Only the photo remains to tell the tale.
And all of that makes for great subject matter today because of the recent happenings in the world around us. I don’t think either of the two men claiming to be the one in the picture kissing the woman would be so fast to admit it today. After all, the kiss was not at all consentual, Greta Zimmer herself stated that on many occasions. Recently, this famous kiss has been brought into question on the internet and has been labeled as sexual assault on some sites.
So I decided to paint it and bring the subject to life in the world of robots. When looking at the painting the iconic kiss is your first point of focus. I have made sure of this with exacting compositional lines, bright colors, and an obscured background that leaves you very little to look at except the two robots kissing in middle of the street. But is there more to see than that?
Let’s start with the signage for BOND on the building in the background. BOND was a clothing company, perhaps the biggest in the country at the time with stores in 150 locations across the country. The Times Square outlet went out of business in 1977 and until recently was the home of BOND 45, an Italian Restaurant on 45th in Times Square. It has since relocated to 46th, but kept the name BOND 45. An “Old Navy” store is opening in its place. I thought that was somehow ironic… Old Navy.
But the Bond thread doesn’t end there. Roger Moore accepted the role of James Bond at the age of 45 following Sean Connery. Also in recent years the BOND property has penned a deal with Heineken to substitute the usual Martini, shaken, not stirred, with a cold Heineken. The reported worth of the advertising deal with the Dutch beer company? … $45 Million
For accuracy to the days’ events you can see the “VJ” message scrolling on the building in the background.
The crowds forming in the street are misted into the background going as far back as you can see. You can see additional robots reflected in her shoe that is planted firmly on the ground as well as his foremost shoe.
On the sailor’s wrist, holding up her head, is the number 45 on a timer-like face that highlights 4 seconds, the approximated length of the kiss.
Speaking of KISS. The bank KISS was formed in New York City in 1973, 45 years ago. Their first tour was in 1974 and their last tour is scheduled to be 2019, 45 years later. The KISS logo can be found one the right hand edge of the painting on the building just to the right of the Sailor’s hand. A KISS fan would notice the logo is not exactly correct. A “true” KISS fan could tell you why. The reason I chose to portray this particular version of the logo is because it is the one used by European countries who felt the original version of the KISS logo looked a little too much like the Nazi SS emblem. So… this logo was, and may still be, used in Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Israel to avoid any potential controversy.
Speaking of music, the sailor robot has a 45 rpm record adapter logo on this right elbow. 45 rpm records were introduced in 1949 as a way for bands to release “singles”. Since both the subjects in this painting were unmarried at the time, I figured this was a good way to introduce them as being “single”.
At the top of the painting, almost centered, and on the building behind the VJ sign, you can see Snow White wearing a gas mask with the word “Dizzy” painted grafitti-like on the wall to her right. I did this because of a recent article I came across online that labeled the story of Snow White as unfit for young girls since the kiss was done while Snow White was sleeping! Even Disney’s fairy tales have become toxic in today’s PC world.
So… I have included the classic recipe for a forced quit of a frozen program in the painting as well… “Shift – Alt – Command – Delete” can be seen as window sills on the building at the far right upper corner of the painting.
Enjoy the piece in whatever capacity you choose to view it.
Oh, and just in case you thought I forgot… Donald J Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. His initials are hidden in the window highlights of the building right over the sailor’s shoulder.