I received this commission from a friend who’s been interested in these drawings since the very beginning. Once again, this piece offered some artistic firsts for me and I appreciate the challenges Mntambo provided me with this artwork. His surname is Fisher but he is Tanzanian; we both agreed that this should be the main focus of the piece with the Pennsylvania Dutch elements of the “Fisher” present but not the basis of the overall design. So, this is officially the first African coat of arms I’ve ever done. The main element of the piece is a Tanzanian sunset, the basis of which is a watercolor painting of its own. Markers and ink were added later for greater depth and definition but is is officially the first painting, the first time I’ve used brushes at all, for a coat of arms drawing. I arranged the composition to appear as a wooden window frame looking out onto the landscape. Along each side of the sunset, I added curtains in the colors of the Tanzanian flag. The horizontal “zig zag” section is inspired but the existing Fisher coat of arms but not without some personalized additions. The two circles on the sides each bear a crescent, one scarlet and one grey, to represent the colors of his alma mater Ohio State University. The center circle is the buckeye itself. I thought of it like the stickers players put on their helmets as accolades. He works in architecture and we both came up with an elevation blueprint of iconic Chicago skyscrapers as an idea for the piece but I didn’t know if it was feasible. Then I decided to just figure it out and do it because I loved the idea. The cannons at the bottom and the red and white scarf represent his favorite soccer club, the Arsenal Gunners. This drawing presented a lot of challenges for me and I was admittedly nervous about completing it. Exhilarating.
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