Artist's Note: I created "The Summer Before The War" series during the summer of 2002, when it became apparent that George W. Bush was "hell bent" on war with Iraq.
As I travelled through America that summer and fall, I was frequently struck by the almost etherial, out-of-time beauty that I encountered from the shores of the Pacific to the high mountains of the West. It was as if there was a rare, quivering poignancy in the air as America's mass media and its dumb-think President were beating the drums of war up to a frenzied pitch. (On the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, supposedly independent, non-corporate NPR actually claimed Saddam Hussein drank human blood.)
At the time, it made me think of stories I'd heard from my parents of the summer of 1942 -- and seen depicted in the film The Summer of '42 -- a halcyon, almost innocent time before the world changed forever. So here's a look back at America as it was in the summer of 2002, "The Summer Before The War."
The images in this series began as photographs, were rendered with a combination of artistic brushes in Photoshop 5, and finally hand painted with a Wacom Intuos stylus.
-- Bruce Brown
July 4, 2008