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The painting depicts the dawn of the "New Frontier" in 1961, a time of high expectations for America as Alan Shepherd led the nation in the space race. The scene takes place at a restaurant where a newlywed couple is showing off their wedding ring to a group of young onlookers. Another couple, who have been married for a while, are just entering the establishment.
The setting is filled with nostalgia and references to popular culture of the era. The jukebox is playing hit songs such as "Wonderland by Night" and "Will you love me tomorrow?" by the Shirelles. The year 1961 was still considered part of the 1950s, with popular music groups like the Marvelettes singing "Please Mr. Postman."
The atmosphere is one of carefree youth and innocence, with no hint of the political and social upheaval that was to come in the following decade. The cost of living was relatively low, with minimum wage at $1.25 per hour, gas at $0.27 per gallon, and a new Impala costing less than $3000.00.
The artist adds personal notes to the painting, reminiscing about their own experiences of getting married in 1961 and the nostalgia associated with it. They recall their own youthful experiences, including the cost of dining out and the cars of the era. They also mention a live bullfrog that was hung from their mirror on their wedding day, and the house across the street that reminded them of Mickey Mouse's house at Disney World.
Overall, the painting is a nostalgic and sentimental look back at a simpler time in American history, captured through the lens of the artist's personal experiences and memories. It highlights the cultural and social elements of the era, and the carefree spirit of youth in a time before the major societal changes of the following decade.
Description by the Artist
Watch this video presentation by the artist describing the painting process, the research, and the hidden trivia in the painting.
The original painting is 36x24" on masonite panel, completed in 1995.
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