Kiwi artist depicts military memories

  • 03/03/2013

Gary Schofield has painted for the US military for 20 years, and been commissioned to create works marking some of the most significant moments in US history.

His story's all the more unusual because he's a Kiwi.

Schofield has given an impromptu art lesson at his old school, St Paul's collegiate. But outside campus he's a virtual unknown.

It's a different story in the United States, where he was commissioned to paint the memorial of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon – a work that now hangs at the spot where Flight 77 hit.

“Having 7 million people come to Arlington and there's only one painting on the wall, that was a very important thing for me,” he says.

Schofield originally left St Paul’s headed for medical school, and says picking up a paintbrush didn't come naturally.

“Everything is hard work,” he says. “Nothing is an instant gift. We all stand on the shoulders of those who've gone before us and this is no different.”

His painting of the Battle of Iwa Jima caught the Pentagon's eye, and secured a long-standing relationship with US top brass.

“I was taken by a navy captain who was at the time the Secretary of Defence, and she took me to the secretary's office. It was like a movie. [She] said ‘we've found the man we're looking for’.”

He's back in New Zealand to finish a piece that's being gifted to St Paul’s, and he's turning his brush to New Zealand military history.

“I wanted an image that showed the simplicity and the compassion and the expression of what that means to New Zealand.”

He's hoping this will be adopted as the official painting of next year's 100th anniversary of Battle at Gallipoli.

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source: newshub archive