In the early nineties I got it into my head to build a memorial to slain police officers of New York. We’d had a desperate lot of killings, eight officers in less than a year. It has an effect on a town, even a big one.
I designed and made the models in clay, small scale, for what was to be an heroic size memorial cast in bronze, and would be called The Officer and the Angel.
For four years I went to most of the precincts in NY, talked to the cops, NYPD HQ, the Commissioner, the FBI agents, fraternal organizations, families who’d lost their sons and daughters to violent criminals, all the unions. We got very close. Enormous grass roots support up and down the east coast and points west including the Archdiocese of New York (offering St Patrick’s Cathedral as it’s home) before getting politically corrected out. But I was, for awhile there, commissioned to build it and I started.
During the long frustrating periods waiting to hear good news and get the go-ahead I did a series of law enforcement related paintings (see the Legend of Tommy O’Toole). It turned into a traveling exhibit that went from the FBI HQ in NY, to their academy in Virginia, Quantico. Quite an experience. There’s a lot more to the story and I may try to get into it later on. Pretty heartbreaking. And small wonder the World Trade Center memorials took forever…committees…the death of all things good.
Law Enforcement Action Paintings The Sparhawk Traveling Exhibit: