Let me explain what you are looking at:
This is a photo of a large portrait of John Wayne that hangs on the wall of the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This picture is large, about 4 feet by 4 feet. It is constructed on wood. The portrait was created by banging in nails with varying size heads and and varying distances.
This took a long time to create. This is an amazing piece.
How do I know this? I friend of mine made it. His name is Dave and one day he started talking about how he was going to create a John Wayne made of nails for the Frontier Restaurant. We worked together at Intel and it was somewhat of a ritual to come to the Frontier every now and then. The Frontier has dozens of John Waynes on its walls.
At each visit to the restaurant, Dave would talk a bit more about his plans. They seemed really monumental and honestly, I don't think we took him very seriously. He started with a small printout, one with dots, not from a laser printer. Then he blew it up to create a rough pattern, then he adjusted the size and distance of the dots so that the face of John Wayne was clear. Then we worked on a design for the backing of wood and sourced a variety of nail types until he found the ones that were the right length and with the right sizes of heads. Then moved things around at his home so he could work on this. He had to figure out how to drive in so many nails - to just the right distance. It was slow, hard, and exacting work.
And he kept at it. There came a point where we (his colleagues) started believing that he was really going to do this.
And he kept at it.
One day, about a year later, he finished. An aside - his intention was to GIVE this to the Frontier Restaurant so they could hang it one their wall. Through this whole process, Dave had not told the owner of the Frontier of his plans - he just had faith that the guy would want the John Wayne.
And he did. As you can imagine, he was a bit surprised when Dave told him what he had done. I helped get a mention in the paper and we had an unveiling party at Dave's house, complete with a western band.
It was an amazing accomplishment - and all to provide a gift and see his contribution on the walls.
This is pretty amazing, isn't it? The picture does not do the artwork justice, you need to visit it yourself the next time you are in Albuquerque. The Frontier is a must-not-miss place anyway.
Sometimes I think about Dave and his John Wayne made of nails and ask myself when the last time was that I put so much care and effort into doing something for someone else....into doing something that offers no financial gain or promotes my business.....
Every time I go to the Frontier - which is every time I go to Albuquerque - I sit under the John Wayne made of nails and smile.
See what another blogger wrote about the Frontier (and a mention of the John Wayne made of nails) here.