When the 4th of July rolls around it’s all about relaxing, celebrating America with your friends, family, and neighbors, and enjoying the freedoms that are awarded to us and protected thanks to our many troops in the military. That’s when I saw this, I knew I had to share! There is an artist that goes by the name of John T. Unger who works with industrial scrap metal to create sculptures which he cuts by hand with a plasma torch that reaches 45,000° F, more than four times hotter than the surface of the sun! He works mostly with recycled materials in order to limit “[his] impact on natural resources, climate and the environment.” He is most well-known for creating absolutely beautiful fire bowls out of this recycled metal but occasionally he is commissioned to work on special projects out of specific types of material. In this instance, Golden Voice and Budweiser commissioned him to make a larger than life American flag out of bottle caps for the 2015 Stagecoach Music Festival. And although some would make jest of the flag being made out of beer bottle caps as an iconic symbol of the America of today, I believe it truly is a symbol of the American dream that anyone with determination and the wherewithal to work hard can be successful in life.
I know what you were thinking and no, Unger did not have to drink a lot of beer in order to complete this project! The bottle caps were provided to him by Budweiser with the added benefit of already being separated by color saving Unger the trouble of having to sort the red, white, and blue caps!
Unger used a projector in order to trace the design onto wooden boards.
Each of the 28,000 bottle caps had to have a hole punched into their center.
Each bottle cap was individually attached to the boards with finishing nails.
Because bottle caps are round and stars have points, Unger crimped 5 bottle caps for each of the 50 stars in order for the stars to look more star-like in the design.
Almost done with Old Glory in all her bottle cap glory! I like how he designed it to appear like the flag is being rippled by the wind instead of being perfectly straight.
The cat got in the action to help complete the last two of the 13 rows!
Old Glory was transported in sections because the end project was too heavy to carry altogether
It was then displayed on a trailer so it could be proudly displayed all across America.
After it was put up on the trailer, Unger did some last-minute touch ups filling in holes with more bottle caps.
Here you get an idea of just how large Old Glory is when compared to the truck pulling the trailer.
It is 10 feet tall by 16 feet wide for a total of 160 square feet of bottle cap flag.
Here Unger proudly poses with his wife, Marcie, in front of his piece of American art.
The artist said: “You can choose to view it as a monument to America, a critique [sic] of consumerism, a beautiful object, or trash given new life. As an artist, I feel I’ve done that job best when there are a variety of meanings that are equally valid.”
To me, there is nothing more wonderful than seeing art depicting the beauty of our nation’s flag no matter what medium it is made from. I wish I could have seen Old Glory as she made her way from New York to California. This piece actually inspired me to do my own patriotic art project. I think it would be fun if the bottle caps were free hanging instead of being nailed to a stiff board, however, it would have to be a much smaller scale. If I actually follow through with yet another DIY project I have planned I will be sure to post pictures. It may not be as grand as John T Unger’s work but it will be done with just as much pride in America!