Interviews with WWII vets compiled into experimental art videos. The videos are a major component of a larger touring Installation.
Dropping Like Flies Needs You! This video/art instillation is timely; many of the WWII men and women I’ve interviewed are already gone and we need to capture as many others as possible before they leave us.
In 2009 I began collecting first-hand stories from WWII veterans, recording their tales over the phone and through the Internet via Skype. I wanted their personal stories, not the History Channel versions.
So far I have collected stories from:
- Women Airforce Service pilots (WASP)
- Tuskegee African-Americans (Red Tails)
- Navajo Code-Talkers
- Women Army Corps (WAC)
- Coast Guard
- Women accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services (WAVES)
- Nurse Cadets
- Prisoners of War (POW)
- Last surviving Identical twins
- Medal of Honor winners
- Hitler youth
One week I called a group veterans that I had tried to make contact with previously; 2 had Alzheimer’s, one died 2 weeks prior, 2 had lively stories. I found out why I had such a difficult time reaching one of the gentlemen; he didn’t have an answering machine and he plays 54 holes a golf a week.
Why Me? Growing up in a bar, people have always opened up to me about their personal lives. I am curious about people’s stories. How they deal with what’s in front of them, what memories they have. I like to draw out the quirky and unusual ones that we wouldn’t hear about elsewhere. I believe as a non-family member it is easier for these amazing men and women to open up with me.The Art Instillation ~ After I talk with a veteran, I often receive photos from them that I use in paintings. These are combined with original war letters and memorabilia, strips of dyed silk with text added by others of all ages. Thoughts on war, peace, poetry, a prayer, etc. are components of an installation. Video I create will play continuously in the installation venues using a projector with individual headsets for a personalized experience. The visual environment works as a breeding ground for inquiries, questions, and future stories to be collected.
Now! I need to amp up the work on this project, and fast. As my TechnoDoc says I can fill up hard drives (like a filing cabinet for computers) faster than anyone he’s ever met. I continually need more digital space, not only for the hours of talks I save but to also keep digital copies. I need to update my 2005 vintage video software. Lighting for doing live interviews, PR; the list of immediate needs can be read at 2:20 in the video.
The completed project is the beginning. A 90-minute Video/Presentation is one of the products of this project. The video will be shown in conjunction with the remembrance of the Pearl Harbor attack in December, 2012 at the Performing Art Center in Newport, OR and Hipbone Studio in Portland, OR. This video/installation will begin touring in 2013.
You, oh glorious you :) This project is about collaboration! With you on the team it will thrive. In return you receive gratitude, rewards and the knowledge that you are preserving WWII History through unique personal stories.
The entire month of May is National Military Appreciation Month: Funding This Project is a great way to recognize, remember and honor WWII Veterans
Team Identity: I have a TechnoDoc, Lynn Moyers who says every good artist needs a Nerd. He has been involved in this project for some time and has added lots of value along the way. An added bonus for me is his pro bono teaching about cool techie tools. He will continue to help with this project. Recently he took a class about video lighting and production. He is excited to work on the live interviews with me. He accepts that life currency thing.
Past Project Experience Highlights: In 1995, I read two lines in an article that made the hair stand up on my arms thinking, “Oh no, here I go again”. Those lines were about art therapy helping the Romanian Orphanages. I had previously gotten a grant for “Teacher as Artist, Artist as Teachers”. I knew I had to take what I had learned to the workers at the orphanages.
I did my own fund-raiser (pre-Kickstarter) never knowing if it would work. People were leery of giving money for foreign projects. I used all my art sales to fund the project and found an organization to help facilitate the project once in Romania. The project was a successful month of painting with children who had HIV and their caretakers.
This is one of my many “make it happen” projects. I am a project addict. It keeps my passion alive.
Please check out my web site at www.sstrom.com to read more information, PR, resume, reserve your painting, or send me an email.
Backstory/Meet the Vets: In 1999 I found a large box of letters from my dad to his mother. Captain Richard F. Strom was a well-decorated WWII and Korean Marine fighter pilot, flying an F4U Corsair off the USS Essex in the Pacific. After reading these letters again 10 years later they became universal and the genesis of this project. Humor, partying, and unique stories were abundant. I wanted to learn about others and began formulating ideas on how to capture and preserve the stories in the unique voices of the storytellers. Here are a few that stood
99 y.o. Henry: Henry’s outfit had to build a landing strip in 11 days on Segis in the Solomon Islands. They would build it during the day and each night the Japanese would bomb it. Before they could hear the planes and run to a foxhole a little black and white dog would bark, warning them of an imminent attack. That dog probably saved more lives than any one person during the war. Henry still misses that “little feller”.
Dick: A fighter pilot was hit and going down, remembering what his Kiwi (New Zealander) friend said “Come on Francisco, die like a man”. Well he didn’t die and loves telling that story with the Kiwi accent. He said humor is what saved him during the War.
Anonymous: His best friend hung himself while in WWII. He could never get over it and has always wanted to commit suicide but because of his faith in God, he never would.
Joseph: Their propeller was dragging after starting the engine. When they checked on the reason, it wasn’t a line, a rope or a lifejacket but a man wrapped around that propeller to the point they had to use a hacksaw to get him off. No one ever knew his name because he was too chopped to bits.
George: A prisoner of war who helped build the tunnel portrayed in the movie in The Great Escape with Steve McQueen. Once they were finally released, a few of the men were offered a huge dinner at a farm house. After 2 yrs in a prison camp, starved, his buddy ate to much and burst his stomach. At least he died a free man.
Mavis: Accounts Receivable clerk sold more carrot juice than anything else. Pilots bought huge amounts of juice for the carotene, which supposedly improved night vision.
Jack: Pearl Harbor survivor talked about going from Ecstasy to Hell in less than 24 hours. The evening of Dec 6, 1941 Jack had a father come and ask if he would dance with his 14-year old daughter. They won the trophy for the Jitterbug contest. The next morning he was one of the pilots attacked at Pearl Harbor.
He always wanted to meet this gal again. In December 2006 Jack found out they lived in the same county. They met and were on the Today Show with Tom Brokraw.
Oh, did I mention my web site www.sstrom.com It's full of cool links, news articles, past work, photo's, past instillation, choices for your rewards and more.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $2 or moreYou selected
Hand Painted Thank You via Snail Mail. Record Call to any WWII Veteran or those who aided in the war effort.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $12 or moreYou selected
All of the above plus a signed 5" x 7" still of any image on my web site. "Special Thanks" to you or another name of your choosing on the ending credits on any DVD over 30 minutes. (International shipping add $5)Estimated delivery:
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All of the Above plus an autographed copy of the book "Amazing Gracie and the Sea Hag". Gracie, a WWI Marine Widow tells a lively story of fun during chaos. Graciesms include "Roll up your Pants, it's to late to save your shoes", "Seafood so fresh the ocean hasn't missed it yet.", and "I get a lot of requests but I play anyway". Your reward includes a "Gracie Plays the Bottles" performance, a special truibute to you on any Saturday afternoon. Guaranteed quirky and fun. No expriation date. (International shipping add $12)Estimated delivery:
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All items above plus a signed one-of-a-kind prayer flag. 3 parts, one square foot each. (International shipping add $17)Estimated delivery:
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All previous awards plus your name or another of your choosing is now a Patron in the credits. A signed DVD, January 2013 (International shipping add $16)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $88 or moreYou selected
All previous awards with an upgrade. The signed prayer flag now is 5 unique squares and the print from the web site is 8x10. I will also add a Presentation/Screening at venue of your choice. (Does not include travel.) (International shipping add $20)Estimated delivery:
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All of the above plus a 6 inch painting which you can reserve from my web site. Or I will create a unique painting using an image you send me via email or snail mail. (Delivery date for personal painting will be September 2012) No framing needed. (International shipping add $26)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $224 or moreYou selected
All of the above plus your choice of two 6-inch paintings. These can be created using an images you send me via email or snail mail if nothing on my website strikes your fancy. (Delivery date for personal painting will be September 2012) OR one 6-inch painting plus a one-of-a-kind gestural figure of your choosing. I am open to other options, just E-mail me from my site www.sstrom.com (International shipping add $36)Estimated delivery:
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Rewards 1 through 6 sent July 2012. Add an available framed painting from my web site or a 16" x 20" painting using a variety of your photographs, preferably war related. I am open to other options, just E-mail me from my site www.sstrom.com(International shipping add $100)Estimated delivery:
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Above plus ???. If you think it and I can do, I will!!! Well...within reason.Estimated delivery:
- (56 days)