By Angela Romeo
Art can be many things. Sometimes art is just quiet beauty. Sometimes it is beauty with a bite. Metal artist Christopher James’ latest work Lady Liberty has become the beauty that bites.
Chris has always been an artist who lives outside the box. His work is born from the material he finds. While it may be an example of recycling at its best his work always had an element of humanity. His woodland creatures, 12-foot giraffes, and large bears – all have a life, a backstory that exudes from them. This latest work has that same aura of life.
This Lady Liberty does not hold a torch nor law book rather she holds a machine gun and a book entitled “in guns we trust.” As Chris has stated “Different people have been getting different interpretations. But freedom isn’t free. That’s pretty much what I’m going to stick with.”
“To be honest the sculpture started out as a discussion with good friend. He was annoyed with the targeting of certain citizens’ rights,” said Chris. “We both share the same concerns on how uninformed the average American is about the reality of what our government is truly doing to everyone.”
“I think the piece speaks for itself self. It is a strong work whose base is familiar to most. I believe it appeals to the individual and collective perceptions of the climate of our nation.”
“I have a family. My protective instincts have always been highly acute. I worry now more about the safety of my loved ones more than ever. The popularity of movies and shows like the Purge, makes it seems that that reality is not too far off.”
“The piece reflects those concerns – it is not a referendum on guns. I do not take a stand on that issue. The work lets the viewers have their own opinion. At no time did I want to change the sculpture. Whatever people thought of it, at least I got them to think and talk positive or negative. It accomplished what I wanted it to do.”
While this Lady Liberty may have her detractors it does not diminish its value as a work of art. The piece evokes reaction. Reaction sparks conversation. Conversation is the first step to understanding.
Emma Lazarus wrote The New Colossus in 1883 to help raise money for the Statue of Liberty pedestal. The poem inscribed on the base reads:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This Lady Liberty may not be silently crying out to those yearning for freedom, but she is crying out to remind us of the freedom we hold so dear.
For more information on Christopher James visit facebook.com/Christopher.james.metal