Welcome back, Sailors! This week I will finally show you and talk about the most important project for 88th Company. It was a turning point in my artistic career.
As my sales were up and got some amazing exposure on social media, I was contacted by a client who wanted me to customize a medium duffle bag for his daughter who was about to embark on an internship at NASA. He told me that her grandfather was a B17 pilot and did missions over Tunisia and Italy. When I read his email I was over the moon! I couldn’t believe that I was going to customize my first bag for a woman NASA genius! Moreover, this was also my first homage piece to a true WW2 hero. If you don’t know it, being a ball turret gunner made your death chances higher than anyone on the bomber. So, I only felt deep respect for her grandfather: Staff SGT, Roy S. Ratliff.
Her amazing father sent me the details about Roy S. Ratliff’s B17, rank, missions, and his portrait. I truly was in awe in front of his photo. But I also felt the pressure mounting. I had to make sure that her grandfather, looked exactly like in the picture!
88th Company’s First Bespoke Bag, Duffle Bag Number 12: The Roy S. Ratliff, B-17 Bag
Staff SGT, Roy S. Ratliff, B-17 Ball Turret Gunner, USAAF, 5th Bombardment Squadron Group.
These are some old pictures and I apologize for their low quality. In this photo, I see my early techniques of painting and tracing. Are they still the same? No, I upgraded and changed many things and I will talk about it in my new tutorial segment.
Again, this Dutch military duffle bag has some of the most beautiful and amazing cotton canvas for painting! It responds so well to the brush and paint! Look at those clouds and B-17! 🤌🏻
I used a lot of water with my Speedball paint to get that washed-up effect. However, I do it less today. But when I need to get this effect, I simply use more water.
It’s a really beautiful and distressed bag! This project taught me that a bag could be more than just a replica, it could be a full story. This bag opened doors for a million more ideas! What story can I tell? Who can I celebrate?
This is the left side of the bag, with all Roy’s info.
Here it should have been USAAF, not AF.
I kept the portrait in black and white, I thought it would make more sense. I enjoyed my work on this one, even though it was very hard! It was an amazing learning experience. Thanks to projects like these I have developed my painting skills.
Mission map and base Foggia, Italy.
In my next post, I will finally share the last bag from 2014.
That’s all for today Sailors,
Feel free to ask me questions about the 88th Company Archives.
For direct contact please don’t hesitate to write me a telegram.
Sonia 😉🎖🤠 Xo