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Can’t you just hear the music rising out of the background noise of the Casino? The omnipresent cigarette (specially made by Morlands with the triple gold band) dangling loosely from his lips, as he casually flicks the flame to life from his oxidized Ronson lighter? The smoke curling seductively around his face, the thin vertical scar down his right cheek, that insolent comma of black hair that softened the mask of a face - one time soft - brutal the next?
Iconic. Chauvinist. Womanizer. Smoker. Drinker. Playboy. Assassin.
Both Fleming and his creation, James Bond, gave new meaning to these words and brought a visible and tangible reality to the genre of 20th century spies and spy-craft novels.
So what is it about Bond that is so alluring and enticing? His personal characteristics and anti-social behavior are anything but enviable and worthy of emulation by our current standards, yet his magnetic draw continues to work its magic on viewers and readers, even decades after the last book was written. Publicity surrounding the advance announcement of the “next Bond Film” creates such a buzz that each film debut draws in viewers like moths to the proverbial flame.
Perhaps it is the Walter Mitty character in all of us - the temptation of an alter ego so diametrically opposite from our normal everyday personality - that “donning the mantle of Bond” boosts our sense of self-worth and feeds our imagination with a liberal dose of fantasy that we all so deeply crave.
On the other hand, could it be that Bond reinforces and validates those very un-PC attitudes we all secretly desire and gives us some form of justification for behaving the way we do…
Sociologists would have a field day with this
Gerry studied watercolour with the late Shelly Bechtel-Sheppard, who taught classes at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond. Since 2010, Gerry has been painting “A Tribute to James Bond - 007” - a series of watercolour paintings that visually interpret the books of Ian Fleming, as well as the James Bond films. He is a featured artist and literary contributor to the internationally recognized website, Artistic License Renewed - Literary 007 and showcases his paintings on this, his own website: Jamesbondart.com or Wadsworthfineart.com. In 2017, Gerry received a commission for a James Bond painting from the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, and his painting now hangs in their new building at L’Enfant Plaza.
Gerry lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.