On the surface, Mission Accomplished depicts action figures rappelling down the side of a jeep pedal car. But thematically, this image is a salute to our troops - with massive shadows, outsized objects (compared to the soldiers) and the American flag all representing the larger-than-life job our troops do and the big sacrifices they make for our country.
Notice that the background of Mission Accomplished is a subtle camouflage pattern. When I painted it, I used abstract art techniques, including using an oversized brush. Upon seeing me use the brush, my wife Sharon said, “What ARE you doing?” I explained to her that I was painting the camo as if it were being painted on the side of a building - using thick, drippy strokes. Once I was done, I mopped up the excess paint with brown paper and then covered the camouflage with another paint layer to soften it.
The pedal car jeep was manufactured in the 1950s and 60s and was a popular toy for parents in the military to buy for their kids. The G.I. Joe figure is vintage, and I had a great time figuring out how he would rappel down this stacked structure I had built.
After getting the whole set up done, there was something still missing. Of course! The flag! Once I added Old Glory, the scene was perfect to express what I wanted to convey. Notice how if you put your thumb over the flag on the picture, the tenor of the image changes completely.