One of the more challenging sculptures I’ve created is finally completed and ready to be installed. Returning Home required many hours of research into many areas, including desert camo uniforms, patches, folds of different fabrics, compositional balance and how a “jump hug” should look when a child is also hugging you.
Now that the sculpture is done, I can look back and say yes, how much time and effort one puts into research can equal the success of a work of art. For me, Returning Home is a success. Of course, you have to apply the research and not skip over little details. But generally, if you have a good idea with a generally good composition, the artwork can be made really good with attention to the little details.
For example; the US flag patch on the mans right shoulder. Seems like a small detail (and it is) but it is a really important one. I learned that the flag appears backwards on his right shoulder because it is important that the stars (and therefore the flagpole) face forward. This shows that the soldiers are going into battle. How? The idea that when you are walking or running towards the wind, it is assumed that you are going into or facing a challenge. And if you do this holding a flagpole, the stars would be facing the direction you are going as they are the closest to the pole. If the stars face the opposite direction, it would symbolize running away from or in the opposite direction of the wind (assuming the wind speed is greater than the running speed). So if a US flag patch were worn on the left shoulder, as compared to the right, the stars should be facing the left side of flag and front of the soldier. So in short, this flag patch is meant to be worn ONLY on the right shoulder.
The little details, such as this, may seem small, but when you are working on long lasting, bronze sculpture, details go a long way.