Balsewich Coat of Arms

“Balsewich Coat of Arms”
Pen and Ink on Illustration Board
16″ x 20″ (matted)

This Coat of Arms commission is for my uncle’s family in Las Vegas, especially their son, Edward. My Uncle Tom is originally from Chicago and met his wife, Eliane, in Vegas so elements of each city are prevalent in the piece. Flanking each side of the Coat of Arms form are a mix of slightly abstracted and realistic renderings of iconic buildings from each city. On the left, the Las Vegas buildings; The Flamingo Hilton, Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand, Paris Paris, and the Bellagio. On the right, the Chicago buildings; The Sears Tower, The Crain Communications Building, the Hancock Center and the iconic Water Tower. The structures from Chicago are presented in a slight geometric abstraction with the colors of the Chicago Flag. The 4 red dots representing the stars. The Las Vegas building are similarly rendered in a combination of abstraction and realism. As each set of buildings reaches the lower end of the drawing, they fold into circuit boards, illustrating Edward’s appetite for technology and computers. Even lower, the bottom of the would be shield is formed by a bow with the forest/woods landscape along the lowest edge. This serves to showcase some of his other passions, archery and the outdoors. Within the bow and string we find the Brazilian flag; my uncles wife is native to Brazil. Above that, the colors and representation of the Lithuanian flag, the ancestry of my uncle. The existing Coat of Arms for the country is a mounted rider, sword unsheathed on a rearing horse. This is represented by the lyrical, darker element on top of the flag; an abstraction of the standard imagery. As a subtle added bonus, within the bronze circle atop the Caesar’s Palace building is a early Lithuanian pagan symbol representing the “Tree of Twilight” or the “World Tree”. Further towards the upper portion of the piece you will find the abstractions of the flanking buildings vanishing into a combination of the Sun and the Moon. The colors and lights of Vegas cascade back into these celestial bodies while the ‘EL” track of Chicago rides the line, either coming from or heading to Chicago. I have known the man my entire life and it was an honor completing this drawing. Much time, thought and energy was put into achieving this piece as yet again I am bombarded with ‘firsts’. The first Lithuanian or Brazilian style piece I have done thus far. The more of these drawing I do, the more complex they become. And the more I love it.

• January 20, 2013

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