Client: VFW AMVETS
Location: Evart, MI, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $60,000
RL BARNUM STUDIOS
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE is a designed environment that stands as a monument or Memorial to the VFW or AM VETS. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE is a large site design that includes four individual stylized figures fabricated out of thick aluminum and a Vietnam era helicopter. The total site design created under my FSU Aesthetic Engineering Academic concept is designed as a walking environment. The created figures include two soldiers from the Vietnam war era mounted to a large stone, one WW II soldier and a nurse from the Vietnam era.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE was my attempt to redefine tradition or traditions in monuments or memorials dedicated to the VFW, AM VETS or any soldier who served in a war for the United States The narrative was critical as was a scale that better served the real-world helicopter that centered the total environment design. It is important to note that the FREEDOM IS NOT FREE monument/memorial received Congressional Recognition. My long-term goal as a University Professor and as a working artist was and is to create public art that better serves the humanist agenda and human cause.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE was one of the best public art projects I have personally been involved with. The budget, the labor concerns and the site location required a strong working relationship between myself, my Aesthetic Engineering academic concept students and the veterans at the post the monument is housed at. All labor on this original rough ground site from creating walkways to finding and shipping the large stone the FALLEN SOLDIER sculpture components are mounted on to the paving layers that define the multiple rings that give the monument site such a comfortable physical and visual flow were accomplished by volunteer veterans, my students and myself. This new-found comradery and this successful working relation proved as valuable as did the finished product. Creating a complex and inspirational sculptural environment out of flat plates of metal suggests a challenging and somewhat bold approach to the visual conversation. All my public art is done from start to installation under my hand in my well tooled sculpture and mural studios I built in an industrial park or at the FSU studios. I do not hire or use outside metal fabricators.
In my opinion it does seem imperative to serve as an artist and a teacher dedicated to the humanist agenda and human cause.