Every year, for the last nine years, a talented artist, Ray (Bubba) Sorensen II, has done a Memorial Day tribute to our servicemen and servicewomen, both past and present, with a stirring tableau painted on a large granite boulder which stands next to Highway 25 in rural Iowa. The huge granite boulder came out of the nearby Schillberg Rock Quarry and it weighs approx. 56 ton and is 12 ft high.
For years this boulder was known as “the graffiti rock” and was decorated for high school rivalries, love interests, etc. Since the Memorial Day paintings began, the “rock” has remained with the annual tribute intact.
When Sorensen was 19, he saw Saving Private Ryan and he felt that patriotism was at an all time low and was not being taught in our schools and this motivated him to paint the rock. People were always driving by to see what was painted on the rock. Sometimes there were bad things and other times it was good. He knew if he painted the rock a lot of people would see it.
Sorensen paints over the previous year’s mural with white paint and starts with a black canvas. He draws a sketch of his idea on paper and then draws the design by free hand onto the rock. This takes him anywhere from one to three weeks to paint. He gets his ideas from books, movies, previous artwork and images by other artists.
Here are two pictures from last year’s mural. For more information, visit this Web site.