The White House First Lady Easter Egg
In the middle of March 2013 I was asked by the American Egg Board to create an egg which would have a very special destination. I was told I had complete freedom to create a project with some theme recommendations from the staff of the Egg Board. I chose to use an egg from Oak Dell Egg Farm because it is a local egg supplier here in Utah and I thought it would be a cool idea have a touch of Utah when this project reached its final destination. This egg is a super jumbo egg which gives me a larger canvas to work with for the images and the meanings attached to them. Although larger the one disadvantage to using a “giant” egg is that it is typically thinner than a normal sized egg.
Here you can see the first “thumbnail versions” which we did not think would be close enough to the goal set for this egg. And below you can see the final project also, I am including the official description describing each aspect of the theme I built around this creation.
When asked to create this project for the American Egg Board I had a conversation concerning their requirements. I was instructed that I was to use a chicken egg for fairly obvious reasons. I chose to use a brown egg for this design because it gives me two colors to use without actually coloring the egg. The brown coloration can be removed from the egg by scraping it away leaving white beneath. I prefer in most cases to use any egg I work with as natural as possible. This has come to be a signature of my work. If I add additional hues to an egg I will use the technique of scrimshaw. I have been drawn to this art form for most of my life.
The First Lady and I have some threads of interest in common. In my early conversations with the staff of the American Egg Board and during my research, I discovered that Mrs. Obama and I both share an interest in living a healthy lifestyle, military families and art education. I thought it better to use themes that I am passionate about because I prefer to create from my heart. I chose to represent two of these ideas directly and the healthy living angle by including the theme of the Egg Roll created by the American Egg Board which is “Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You”.
The background of this design is a lattice pattern which has become a trademark for many of the pieces I create. This is my personal addition to the overall design. The next aspect is art education. The arts allow us to develop our imagination which is paramount when following our dreams. I chose to represent the need for art education with a favorite saying from Pablo Picasso which is “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. Because Picasso was native to Spain I will render the statement in Picasso’s native tongue “Todo niño es un artista. El problema radica en que lo siga siendo cuando se crezca”. My intent being a tribute to the multicultural aspect of the American Society.
To represent the main theme of Easter and the sponsor of this carved egg, the American Egg Board, I chose to use the Logo designed for the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll. I was told this will be the first time the actual logo will be used on an egg given to Mrs. Obama. The American Egg Board logo will be created using a number of techniques. The brown layer will be removed to create the logo in two colors. Scrimshaw will also be used to give a stronger impact and because I like this old world technique. Scrimshaw has a big impact in American history and art from the days when the sea was all important to young America.
The reverse side of the egg will show a silhouette of a military man and his children. For this image I chose to photograph my friend Zach Burton with his children. I have known this soldier and his family for years and I thought it much more significant to represent my thoughts with real people. My relation to this aspect of the design is that I served in the US Air Force as did my father before me. A tribute to our nation’s past defenders is also included here. For this, I chose the Bronze Star as the background because as it was awarded to my now deceased father. I am honored beyond words to commemorate my brothers and sisters in arms; past, present and future. Theirs is often a thankless job and in this small way I can pay tribute to the awesome sacrifice they willingly pay for our freedom.
The lower part of the stone base which completes this design is rough which speaks of each member of our human family. We are all a little rough around the edges when we are young and as we move up through our lives we become more polished just as the top surface of the stone is polished. The final message I want to portray with this work is this. I see the juxtaposition of the eggshell supported by stone as a metaphor for life: The eggshell is strong enough to contain the unlimited potential of life just as each member of the human race holds within themselves infinite power to create. And much like this carefully carved egg which stands on a base of stone, we all need a firm foundation upon which we can sculpt ourselves thus allowing the beauty within us to shine forth.
And finally, here are a couple of photos showing the delivery to The American Egg Board in Chicago. My gratitude goes out to The American Egg Board, Channel 2 KUTV, Oakdell Egg Farms, Intrepid Hybrid Communications, Profitable Hobbies, The Eggery Place, The Inspiration and Encouragement Network. There are many individuals too numerous to include here so all those friends, family, loved ones and patrons who have supported me THANK YOU! for making this possible.