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How Could They Run?

How Could They Run?

I enjoy playing the guitar and recently learned to play Neil Young's (CSN&Y) Ohio. While the song's overall sound and melody are very raw, what appeals to me most about it is its lyrics. To me, the song speaks specifically to the loss of ability to express one's point of view. It also is a lesson in the importance of a single person willing to speak up when something is morally wrong. The footage that is available online, shows powerful and chaotic images of students' voices being silenced by authority.

With these influences, I decided to create a portrait of Neil Young to explore the central theme of the song. While I layered many colours into the piece, I used black as the predominant colour to highlight the dark feelings associated with oppression. I also put various numbers in the underpainting; 4 is visible in the final layer to pay respect to the four students who died in Ohio while protesting the Vietnam war on the campus of Kent State University. I went back and forth in deciding whether to call the painting Tin Soldiers or How Could They Run? In the end I decided on the latter, because it highlights the responsibility that each of us has to speak up against things that we know are not correct; whether it is bullying, racism or speaking out about global warming. This piece was created specifically for a charity auction to support children from under-resourced communities who are interested in pursuing a career in fine arts. 


Size: 24x30

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