In my youth I spent a few years serving on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. When I first came aboard it was summer and the pre-commissioned aircraft-carrier was still under major construction in dry dock at Newport News shipyard, which gave me the opportunity to explore. One night coming in from liberty I walked underneath the 97,000 tons of ship just for a look see. And what a sight; it was (is) enormous, all massive curves and shaped steel with fins and sea suction ports, four gigantic brass screws left me with an enduring feeling of dreadful awe.
During the next several months my shipmates (50 or more Marines and 3,000 to 5600 or so Sailors) and I went through a shakedown cruise and sea trials with the air wing. We got a good taste of life at sea. Because the Navy practices light security at night (so as not make too good of a target) it was extremely dark on deck. So dark in fact that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face except as a shadow against the stars. Clear moonless night skies are a wondrous sight at sea.
I didn’t know it at the time, but for a Midwestern boy, I was having the time of my life. It seems to me these experiences have done a lot to shape my artistic aesthetic. Many years later I find themes emerging from this chapter of my life. Here are just a few ready to hand (sure I could find more). Maybe not a linear connection, but a connection.