I decided that I wanted to produce something that looked like a vintage anti-Nazi propaganda poster for the Isle of Man and one of the perks of being an artist is coming up with some outlandish idea and then being allowed to bring it to reality regardless of any other factors – and today’s piece is a good case in point. I had just finished Ian Tregillis’ enjoyable alternate history book ‘Bitter Seeds’ about British warlocks fighting Nazi superheroes in WWII and thought to myself that Nazi bashing is pretty much encouraged in other media – books (like Bitter Seeds), computer games (like the Call of duty mini-game where you have to kill as many Nazi zombies as you can) and film (Inglourious Basterds springs to mind). So I thought I’d jump in on the action through the medium of art.
As the Laxey Wheel is one of the most iconic and easily recognisable of the island’s historic landmarks I thought it would be a good place to start. Throw in an improbably large evil Nazi owl descending from a darkening sky with it’s talons outstretched to snatch at the wheel and you’re off and running. Then all you need is some patriotic sounding text and you’ve got yourself some fake Manx propaganda c.1939. Right, what’s next?
Title: They will come… we must fight!
Materials: Screenprint, spraypaint, stencils, watercolour and paint pen
I’ll be honest. We’ve used this image before. The original was painted on a wall. The second was a commission canvas piece and now we have the little brother laser cut on wood. The original inspiration for this design came from the Polish fighter squadrons of WW2 who escaped to Britain to fight alongside the RAF after Poland had been invaded. Somehow that nugget of inspiration morphed into this piece. The muse works in mysterious ways. Anyway, as long as you’re digging the sage advice this dashing pilot is dishing out then all should be well. Just remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
This little beauty is, as mentioned, laser cut on wood then lovingly hand painted. She’s about 40 x 28cm of id-iom certified goodness. Drop us a line if interested.
After reading about the exploits of Major Robert Henry Cain I just knew that we had to create a piece featuring him. They don’t come much more swashbuckling than the good Major. He is the only Manx recipient (to date) of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, which was awarded for his brave actions during the Battle of Arnhem. I’m sure the history books can describe it much better than me but suffice it to say he loved to take out German armour with whatever weaponry was at hand and at the Battle of Arnhem alone personally destroyed six tanks and an unspecified number of self propelled field guns. As the wording for his VC states:
“On 20th September (1944) a Tiger tank approached the area held by his company and Major Cain went out alone to deal with it armed with a PIAT (anti-tank weapon). Taking up a position he held his fire until the tank was only 20 yards away when he opened up. The tank immediately halted and turned its guns on him, shooting away a corner of the house near where this officer was lying. Although wounded by machine gun bullets and falling masonry, Major Cain continued firing until he had scored several direct hits, immobilised the tank and supervised the bringing up of a 75 mm. howitzer which completely destroyed it. Only then would he consent to have his wounds dressed.
In the next morning this officer drove off three more tanks by the fearless use of his PIAT, on each occasion leaving cover and taking up position in open ground with complete disregard for his personal safety.
During the following days, Major Cain was everywhere where danger threatened, moving amongst his men and encouraging them by his fearless example to hold out. He refused rest and medical attention in spite of the fact that his hearing had been seriously impaired because of a perforated eardrum and he was suffering from multiple wounds.
On 25 September the enemy made a concerted attack on Major Cain’s position, using self-propelled guns, flame throwers and infantry. By this time the last PIAT had been put out of action and Major Cain was armed with only a light 2″ mortar. However, by a skilful use of this weapon and his daring leadership of the few men still under his command, he completely demoralized the enemy who, after an engagement lasting more than three hours, withdrew in disorder.”
Before the remains of his division withdrew and crossed the Rhine he took the time to shave then waited til all his men were across before he himself crossed on an old boat. Now, if that’s not a classic British stiff upper lip then I don’t know what is. To top it all off he was the only man to receive the VC at Arnhem who lived to tell the tale. To list more of his adventures would take far too long and I would suggest you check out his wikipedia page for more information and unlikely tales of derring-do. Now I just need to find something suitable to do with our little tribute…