Special Projects 1

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September 1971, at Carl Frye Gallery, Long Beach, California

The Invitation for this show was advertised in ART news in the fall of 1971.  The invitation read: “Compare Kirwan with the masters with whom we have chosen to show him.  We believe, that like those masters, Kirwan has no classifiable definition.  Kirwan’s work; controversial, momentous, unusual as it is, is an encounter that needs to be experienced. Join us.”

That success led to the commission of The Journey, which led to posters and national-international recognition.

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Isadora Duncan (1878 – 1927)

1987 will mark the 60th anniversary of Isadora’s death. She was a prodigal daughter of San Francisco, one who fought for freedom of the human spirit. Like the Phoenix on the city flag, this monument could easily become another symbol of San Francisco’s way of life.

Some say that this Hellenistic heroine is inappropriate, in light of recent artistic trends. Still she fought the sacrosanct conventions of her day – and because of her, we enjoy the movements of modern dance today.

There is an octagonal space between the Opera House and the War Memorial Museum directly across from City Hall, where she should stand.

The figure is 10’ 7” tall atop a tapered pedestal: The entire piece will be 28’ 8” tall. The sculpture will weigh 3,000 pounds, and will have light-censors to enable her to follow the path of the sun.

Isadora would directly complement the Beaux Arts architecture of the civic center. However, the then Mayor, now US Senator Diane Feinstein blocked the project by appointing a committee to rule on Isadora’s suitability. The committee would meet two years after Diane left office.

The site has been vacant since this city was re-built in 1907 – perhaps one day Isadora Duncan may yet take her rightful place at San Francisco’s civic heart.

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Architectural Design

Returning to Oklahoma City, after four years in the Air Force, I ended the 60’s in a seven-year affair with Architecture.

Beginning as a draftsman/designer of luxury homes, I next turned to independent freelance home design. When this became routine, I took various jobs designing hospitals, clinics, offices, and restaurants trying to bring more of nature into architectural design.

I used on-site sketches to crystallize the client’s vision of the buildings they were considering. Follow-up drawings often led to signed contracts. From then on my job became the drawing of all working floor plans and elevations, as well as electrical and mechanical sheets including specific construction details.

Forest Gardens for instance, was to be an 800-bed core hospital facility, augmented by a complete medical office building with underground parking for 900 vehicles. The actual structure would be 903, 863 sq. ft. This proposal was not built, but several others were.

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Ray Bradbury

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Mr. Dark is based on the character in Ray Bradbury’s book, “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” The 42” x 84”pencil drawing took three months. In the drawing, the figure has over 317 separate images tattooed on his body as seen through his suit.

In the detail of the oil painting, of the same size, the tattoos are more clearly visible because the clothing was de-emphasized, which had been part of the original work. The painting had a garish red-orange background and as a poster Mr. Dark was a commercial disaster. Pomegranate, the publisher, not only couldn’t sell the 24” x 60” poster, but some clients found the piece to be of ‘a very disturbing nature,’ which in some cases caused the cancellation of accounts.

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John Wayne

This 42” x 48” pastel sketch was done in 48 hours, for the Oklahoma City Jr. Chamber of Commerce. It was presented to John Wayne on the occasion of the opening of The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, in Oklahoma City, in the summer of 1965.


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