Well hello, sailor!

 

Savvy old school sailors

 

‘The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them.’

– Jean Genet (1910-1986)

 

Portrait of Jean Genet by Richard Avedon

 

I have a bit of a soft spot for sailors.

 

Rona Green, Rusty Steel, 2009, linocut, ink & watercolour, 38 x 28 cm, edition 13

 

Several of my pictures salute the sailor man including Greasy Rhys, as well as his mates Rusty Steel and Topsy Turner.

 

Rona Green, Topsy Turner, 2009, linocut, ink & watercolour, 38 x 28 cm, edition 13

 

Part of the inspiration for these works is the flash of master tattoo artist, Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins.

 

Norman 'Sailor Jerry' Collins (1911-1973)

 

An example of Sailor Jerry tattoo flash

 

I am certainly not alone in my admiration of the sailor – other fans include:

 

Herman Melville, author.

 

Friedrick Ledebur as Queequeg in the 1956 movie adaptation of the 1851 novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville

 

Jean Genet, novelist, playwright, poet, essayist and political activist.

 

Querelle of Brest by Jean Genet

 

Otto Griebel, artist.

 

Otto Griebel, Ship Boilerman, 1920, oil on canvas

 

Paul Klee, artist and musician.

 

Paul Klee, Sinbad the Sailor, 1928, watercolour on paper

 

David Bowie, renaissance man.

 

Aye aye, David Bowie!

 

Tom of Finland, artist.

 

Tom of Finland, Sailors, 1985, pencil on paper

 

Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion designer.

 

Advertisement for Jean Paul Gaultier's 'Le Male'

 

One of the things that particularly tickles my fancy about Navy culture is sailors nicknames.

Crew mates are given monikers such as ‘Chalky’ White, ‘Nosey’ Parker and ‘Smokey’ Cole.

 

John 'Dusty' Rhodes and Bindie

 

The following print is a tribute to my great uncle, John ‘Dusty’ Rhodes (and it’s a tip of the hat to Bindie as well!).

 

Rona Green, Dusty Rhodes, 2011, linocut, ink & watercolour, 76 x 56 cm, edition 23

 

You may have noticed the 8 balls on Dusty’s hands – these are a reference to the character Bean, in the movie Cadence.

 

Charlie 'Bean' Sheen (pictured left) in Cadence

 

It’s time for me to sail away so i’ll leave you in the capable hands of Turbonegro, performing their song Sailor Man…

 

 

And here’s a bonus sailor:

 

A hirsute seafarer

 

Hold fast!

 


4 Comments on “Well hello, sailor!”

  1. Robert Dente says:

    On edit and to be more accurate, Westermann referred to himself as “self-taught”—even though he studied at Chicago’s Art Institute; and to be more accurate, he was a Marine (part of the Department of the Navy) and was stationed on ships for most of his military career. A lot of his art fixated on what he termed “death ships” in shark-infested waters.

  2. Robert Dente says:

    When I was a young art student, our school invited the self-taught (and local) artist, H.C. Westermann to give a slide talk about his work and experiences that helped him develop as an artist. Being a Navy veteran and a former acrobat, he surprised everyone in the lecture hall by walking in on his hands. Needless to say it got everyone’s attention and we were all rapt listeners to his exploits during WWII in the South Pacific and his days with carnivals and the circus. He was very proud of his tattoos, btw.

    http://mirappraisal.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/h-c-westermann/


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