Rosie The Riveter Guitar for Mr John Veld

Oct 9, 2018My Art Work

In March 2018 I received a message from a gentleman who lived in the United States, Mr John Veld, he told me he was purchasing a guitar from Emerald Guitars, he had seen my work on the Robert Mizzell Guitar and that he would like me to paint it for him. He sent me on some images of he wanted to get done and to be honest I started getting very excited.

John wasn’t buying any old guitar, this was a Synergy X20 a double guitar with a twist. The top part is a harp, the bottom a 12 string. Up until I start painting for Alistair I had never even seen anything like this. I was intrigued so I did some research and found the instrument had quite a big following.

Excited about this project I waited to hear from Emerald guitars. Sure enough I got an email from Kevin in sales at Emerald with all the details about the work to be done. Usually it’s a few weeks from when I get the concepts to the guitar arriving.

It was the start of August when I got a call from Alistair inquiring about how quick I could get the synergy painted. I had just gotten over a very busy period with festivals and street art projects. So as it happened I hadn’t got a lot on, so I told him if he got it down to me I’d have it back in a week.

A week passed before the guitar arrived, luckily as it turns out. When the guitar left Emerald it had company, a second guitar but it never arrived. Both guitars had ended up in London heading to the U.S when someone took the chance on redirecting one of them. Fortunately, it was the synergy that got turned around and made it to me.

Down to business and painting this amazing instrument. I started with the back and an embroider crest from the US 8th air force. This was so time consuming, all free hand. I wanted to create the illusion that it had been stitched on. Along with some names and dates this part took nearly a day and a half.

'Rosie The Riveter' by Norman Rockwell, 1942

‘Rosie The Riveter’ by Norman Rockwell, 1942

The main aspect of Mr Veld’s design is a well-known character from world war II, “Rosie the Riveter”. During the war this icon of Feminism was used on many posters to encourage woman to take up factory jobs around the US left vacant by the men who went off to join the war effort. A lot of these jobs were in munition factories, shipyards and aircraft factories.

In 1942, a famous song titled “Rosie the Riveter” was written and played all around the US to help encourage woman to work in the factories. Many women were closely associated with the song but one in particular, Rose Will Monroe, who helped build B24 Bombers at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Michigan, became the visual representation for the character by taking part in a promotional film to help encourage more woman to help out.

At this point, Rosie was the next to be tackled. Usually I would start drawing the image, but as there are two bridges on this guitar, and the image of Rosie was quite small, I use a stencil and this method worked very well. I lined it up very carefully to ensure it would work well on the overall image of the guitar.

I really enjoyed painting ‘Rosie’, when I had first heard about this project this was the element that I looked forward to doing the most. It took a good day to finish her up before my attention turned to the flag. Because the guitars are made from carbon fibre, the idea of leaving some show through was a must for everyone. So when doing the lay out for the flag, I made it a little more worn and torn. Which in the end looked real cool.

On the neck and the head of the twelve string side I painted it to resemble panels of an aircraft with rivets and some weathering. Along the neck I also used the rivets to mark the cords.

With my work done I contacted Alistair to organise collection, but by this time it was Friday and a courier wouldn’t have it to him until Monday. That was going to be too late so Alistair decided to drive down and collect it himself. Which was cool because we had never meet in person before.

Alistair was extremely happy with the final design of the guitar and told me that the short turn around was due to the fact that Mr John Veld was coming to Ireland for a workshop and he would be presented with the guitar at that.

The workshop he was coming for was being given by Mr Ron ’bumblefoot’ Thal. A legend of epic proportions playing with the likes of Guns n’ Roses and the ‘Art of Anarchy’. He himself would be the first person to play the ‘Rosie’ guitar.

I had been invited up to the unveiling but to my disappointment I couldn’t make it as I was painting at a festival in Trim on that weekend. I keep in touch through social media as to the unveil and as I always am, a little nervous. All that was put to rest as john had seen his guitar for the first time and his joy and excitement of investigating the artwork and seeing his vision come to life in front of him.

The others there for the workshop also seemed quite enamoured with the guitar which for me is so pleasing and gratifying. There ware a lot of long hours put into that particular guitar and seeing such a positive from people gives me great pride and encouragement.

Unveiling Rosie

Geplaatst door Emerald Guitars op Vrijdag 24 augustus 2018

This has been my favourite guitar to paint so far, I do have several more in the studio at the moment for art work. so there will be more tales of paint and design to come in the near future.

Written by Keith O Brien


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