Been seeing a lot of Iowa around Vancouver lately

Slurpees at 7-11Did you know that American Gothic[wiki] is one of the most replicated paintings in pop culture, if not ever? You’ve more than likely seen the painting before. The dude on the farm with the pitchfork and his wife. Yeah, it’s that one. The wife looks less than impressed, and the guy seems a bit perturbed.

Grant Wood[wiki] is the man behind the painting. So often, these two facts escape the memory banks, but people know the painting when they see it. Well, at least those that stand to be familiar with American art, but it’s popularity world wide is constantly amazing.

I was born and raised in Grant Wood country. In grade school, we would spend weeks learning and celebrating who he was. There still is the Grant Wood Art Festival that goes on every year in Stone City, Iowa, which happens to be the the town that Grant Wood named my most favorite painting of his after. In fact, the 34th annual event just passed this month. It’s nothing huge, but the festival is worth the summer day and hospitality.

Now that I’m in Vancouver, my eyes catch these “signs of Iowa” more. When I walked into 7-11 the other day, it struck me to see this image above the slurpee spouts. Yet another parody of this less than a hundred year old artwork, and this time it’s to aid in the attraction of flavored, crushed ice drinks. For me, this completely envokes the summer time vibe to buy into the effect that it’s intending, not that I really need the added help.

Stone City - Grant WoodCombine this with the passing of some dude that I freaked out just the other day who was wearing the Tigerhawk[wiki] on his baseball cap. We were on the way to the NHL draft at GM Place when we passed him in the crosswalk on Burrard Street. I gave him a “Go Hawks!” with a fist pump, the universal thing that any good Iowan would do when we spot our own. He was caught off guard and just kind of looked back at me as we walked on. I’ve lived here for nearly eight months, waiting for that moment to come.

Anyhow, I have to say, Grant Wood truly is one of my more favorite artists, even though many critics of his time, and even today, don’t regard his works with much enthusiasm. I can’t say much more artsy fartsy things about him than that. I like his work, and his works help reflect the beauty of where I grew up.

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One Reply to “Been seeing a lot of Iowa around Vancouver lately”

  1. Ben would tell you that the man was Grant Wood’s dentist and woman was his sister.

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