Beggs Coat of Arms

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

Ideas: This Coat of Arms drawing is a gift to my friend Chris for both his wedding and also for helping manage the pub where I host my annual Multiple Sclerosis Fundraisers. It is no great coincidence he met his wife there as well. He first starting visiting Chicago some years back and eventually moved here. A sizable group of us visited Ireland and surprised him for his birthday one year as well; it is a trip that changed everyone involved. They share many common interests and some of them can be found in the composition. Starting in the center, I made a rendering of a tattoo Chris has on his inner forearm, a Celtic Circle of Life. I felt the two figures embracing in the center would naturally represent the couple. I added my own style to the knot-work and inscribed in the top-middle of the circle is the date of their anniversary in Roman Numerals, 11-19-16. This happens to be my birthday as well. Chris was a plumber in Ireland; now that he’s living in Chicago I rendered a skyline in a quasi-Celtic knot-work program of pipes and fittings that ultimately cascade down the sides of the shield-form. The red hand of Ulster, symbolizing where he is from in County Tyrone is on the left side of the upper composition along with the jagged, black and white top representing the coat of arms of the region. On the other side, the white hand, representative of her surname, Cullin. On the wrist of the red hand is a rosary inspired by another of his tattoos. On her white hand-wrist a fitness watch, as she is a trainer and very passionate about health and physical well being. Their two dogs, Hux and Dio are at the very top acting as gargoyles protecting the symbol of their family. Below the center you will see vines of thorns reaching out and wrapping around the pipes from the top of the composition. Also the shield-form is aligned with a shotgun hoisting the Chicago Flag and a scoped rifle reflected on the right side with the Irish Tri-color hanging from the barrel. Both these weapons are symbolic of Chris’ collection in Ireland and we shot them while on our visit. The two guitars at the bottom are symbols of the hard rock and metal music that sparked each other’s interest in one another initially. Finally, the bottom section of the shield-form is adorned with a gradient and centered, demonic pendulum symbol for further emphasis. This was easily one of the hardest coat of arms drawings to create so far but both I, and they are very happy with the result. The moment of surprise during the presentation for Chris was top drawer, but nothing compared to the honor I felt making it for him.

• January 21, 2013

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