The Five Sections of the Medallion
sketches – graphite on velum
This athlete is lifting a weight on his shoulders. The vertical lines to his left represent gravity. One of the most fundamental struggles in any sport involves a struggle against gravity; that is, maintaining one’s stamina in the face of fatigue as the earth exerts in its inescapable pull. One of the more thrilling aspects of viewing sporting events is admiring he athlete’s strength in the context of his chosen activity.
In this image, two opponents face off against one another. The small rectangles between them can represent floorboards or drops of sweat. May the best athlete win in this basic struggle between opponents that counts as its primary goal, the best athlete walking away with the victory earned through concerted effort.
This image is about team sports and includes references to the implements used in these games. Examples: bat and ball, hockey stick and puck, ball and net, etc. The athlete is pictured in a court or field; the small marks in the background represent team embers on the field. The skillful use of these various implements provides exciting spectacle, especially since these implements are typically used in a manner conducive to team dynamics.
The circles represent the setting sun to depict the passage of time; these circles also represent a sports ball. Like many of the symbols in the overall design, the sports ball is not specific. Beneath the runner is a sundial that, in combination with the sun, gives the image a celestial reference to harmonize with the theme of the airport itself. In addition, the overall design reminds viewers of the long history of sports being a celebrated human activity that tests the limits of our endurance, will, and skills in strategic thinking.
The core of the piece is the foundation and inspiration for sports in Indianapolis, represented by an Indianapolis 500 racecar. The car is depicted from the front at low eye level. Striped wheels are on each side of the body of the car. The body is seen as a star shape inside an oval with a circle in the center. The star shape represents the wind passing by the front of the auto. Also visible are the windshield, the driver’s head, and the spoiler above his head. Like the airplanes flying in and out of the airport, this stylized racecar is prepared (much like the activities of art and sports themselves) to take us into the 21st century and beyond.
In summary, the medallion and the images within are, due to the abstract nature of the forms, easily recognized and appreciated. A floor design in elegant materials would serve as a lovely metaphorical red carpet that introduces visitors to the city and whets their appetites for some exciting competitive opportunities that await them when they leave the airport. Perhaps for the symbolically minded viewers who see the design, the medallion could be a subtle reminder of the glories that we as people are able to achieve in whatever context when we choose to do our best.