Watching the television screen on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, most Americans felt helpless. But Lodi area artists — whether it was that day or in the weeks to come — took to their palettes and drawing boards and put their hearts and tears on blank canvases to show their patriotism, the vulnerability that was felt across America and the grief that struck a nation.
With paint brushes, bins of mixed media supplies, oils and acrylics, Lodi artists went to work creating pieces of art that continue to tell the America’s history one decade after America experienced the attack against the United States.
On a sunny mid-morning, Woodbridge mixed-media artist Lisa Goldman peers at her mixed-media piece she made to memorialize Sept. 11, 2001 from her seat on the couch. As the decade of Sept. 11 rolls around, the piece is still as poignant to her as it was when she made it.
The piece began with a red-based painting she picked up at a garage sale and then altered to a memorial for all of those who died in the Sept. 11 attack. The entire bottom of the canvas is covered in multicolored buttons — 5,442 of them. Each tiny, unique piece of plastic represents someone who died on that day. She wanted each button to show, but there were too many. She began layering them, until they created a three-dimensional rise off of the paintings.
Creating the piece was a way for Goldman to heal and grasp the concept of such loss. In an artist’s statement about the piece, she wrote, “This ritual was healing. It was necessary. It was filled with pain, love, terror, loss and sadness. I could see and touch each person. I invite you to do the same.”
The piece hangs high in the back of her home, where it is a subtle, yet poignant reminder of how she felt.
When artist Suzanne Painter started her painting dedicated to Sept. 11, she wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Soon, it morphed into a large depiction of red, orange and yellow wings with a black crow in the center.
“The imagery is of all the people who died,” she said. “They’re like angels.”
Pat Brandon’s husband, Darrell, painted “In my Father’s House are Many Mansions” after Sept. 11. The painting shows smoke rising and people working at Ground Zero.
Darrell Brandon, who has since died, had been in the Navy in 1941 when the United States was attacked by Japan. Sept. 11, 2001 reminded him of that day, Pat Brandon said. He felt the terrorists were happy, and he wanted to show in his painting that the terrorists hadn’t won.
“He shows the bodies going up into heaven and that they were the winners, not the terrorists,” she said. “Everybody who’s seen it has said it’s very powerful.”
Lodi resident Irene Schulz honored local firemenwith her tribute to those who worked at Ground Zero on Sept. 11. Her painting is of the famous image of the three firemen who raised the flag on Sept. 11.
“It kind of reminded me of the raising of the flag in Guam,” she said.
After the attacks, the Lodi Grape Festival CEO Mark Armstrong and muralist Tony Segale created a tribute to America with a mural in the Grape Pavillion.
The mural, “America the Beautiful,” is a visual cross-section of the U.S., from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, a sea-to-shining-sea landscape. As if you are viewing the country from above, you can see some of the things that make America what it is: Golden Gate Bridge, the Space Needle, Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, corn fields in the midwest, the Statue of Liberty and the St. Louis Arch.
“I was just trying to do my best to represent all those features that we should be proud of in the country,” Segale said.
Many area artists came together in 2002 to honor a first-year anniversary at the Lodi Community Art Center. Lodi artist Patti Wallace helped lead the event and has created many pieces remembering Sept. 11, including a piece that hangs on the door of the gallery.
During the show, Caroline Henry displayed “The Enduring Towers,” a collage in which she “sought to portray our enduring values, those nurtured by them and those who protect them.” She also wrote a poem, “September 11, 2001,” one week after the attacks.
Many artists are showing their pieces remembering Sept. 11 at the Lodi Community Art Center, 1373 Lakewood Mall, during the month of September.
Contact reporter Lauren Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.