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An Encounter With History

Daniel T. Lopez


On February 26, 2016 I went to lunch at Pepe Mexican Restaurant, in Santa Rosa California to meet Judy and Davis Bullwinkle.  Judy was interested in seeing my art. I have two large murals at the restaurant so everyone thought it was a good venue for our luncheon.  Judy is a friend of my wife Sally and my sister-in-law Rosemary. Prior to the meeting Rosemary and told Judy a little about my art including the fact that I was a Combat War artist in the Vietnam War.

 Shortly after the perfunctory introductions Judy said the Rosemary had told her about my War Art experience in Vietnam.  Judy and Davis talked about their toured through Vietnam some years after the war.  They spoke about how much they enjoyed their toured and extensively about the activities.  They also including the fact that their tour guide had been a combat war artist for the North Vietnamese government.  They showed me a booklet of Bui Quang Anh art during his tour as a war artist.  At that point I felt that I was going through an epiphany.   I never thought that there were counter artists from the opposite side painting the war.  This event happened 47 years after my experience in Vietnam.  That day at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Rosa California I saw the artwork painted by an artist from the opposite side the war.  I came across a mirror showing my counter opposite.  I flipped through the pages and immediately realize that his art looked like the art that the combat war artist teams from the United States had painted, but from the opposite side.  A great circle hooped had closed and completed itself.


The Bullwinkle’s loaned me the booklet.  I browsed through the booklet and began to read. I saw that Bui Quang Anh thoughts and opinions where similar to mine.  “… I try to paint righteously, to convey bold visions of the present and the future. You have to go somewhere deep and dark to express the fierceness and the despair of human actions.“  This was our effort as artist trying to show the human struggle and its effects on the individual soldier during war times.


He follows with  “I am inspired by artist such as Siqueiros, Hocusai, Picasso. “ These artists have been inspirational to me also and I have been using them in my presentations on my Vietnam art series. Alfaro David Siqueiros had inspired me with his Echo of a Scream, which he painted in 1937.  Siqueiros had painted this work when the Japanese Imperial army bombed Shanghai, China. Siqueiros had loosely based his painting upon a news photograph of the carnage.  I was incredibly moved of see how Siqueiros captured the cruelty of war on the innocent. Another work, which greatly inspired me by Siqueiros, was “The Torture of Cuauhtémoc painted in 1951. This mural masterfully captures the Spanish cruelty of the Indigenous population of Mexico. Last Emperor of the Aztecs Cuauhtémoc was tortured as they tried to find the lost treasure of the Montezuma.


Probably Picasso's most famous work, Guernica is certainly his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi's devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War. Guernica has always been an inspiration to me because of my experience as a war artist.


Hokusai created the “Thirty-Six Views” It was this series, specifically The Great Wave print that secured Hokusai’s fame. His worked was recently shown on the local PPS stations.  Hokusai continues to inspire art around the world.


The name of the booklet is Ho Chi Minh Trail- Ho Chi Minh Campaign- Military Logistic