Old Glory an American flag created from over 20,000 Budweiser bottle caps for Stagecoach Festival

Old Glory is an American flag created from over 20,000 Budweiser bottle caps and was commissioned by Golden Voice and Budweiser for the 2015 Stagecoach Music Festival. Measuring ten feet tall by sixteen feet wide, for a total of 160 square feet, Old Glory is my largest bottle cap artwork to date.

The short documentary film shot by Stephen Blauweiss, above, shows how each cap was individually punched, crimped and then nailed to plywood to form the image. I love how he was able to really capture the process of making the artwork.

What inspired me in this project is how deeply iconic it is— You can’t get more ‘American Made’ than a flag made from Budweiser caps. I also love that the artwork traveled coast to coast, from NY to CA, crossing the entire country it represents.

Whether people choose to see Old Glory as folk art or fine art, I feel the real beauty of the piece is how open it is to personal interpretation— whatever your idea of America is, I think this piece speaks to that. You can choose to view it as a monument to America, a critic of consumerism, a beautiful object or trash given new life. As an artist, my job is to make things worth talking about— I feel I’ve done that job best when there are a variety of meanings that are equally valid.

This quote from Jimmy Carter says it well: “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”

I’m very proud of how well this piece turned out. The time frame was very tight— I had about 24 hours to do the proposal, and then the bulk of the work needed to be done in about two months. Normally, I would want closer to a year to do a piece as large as this.

I’d like to thank the following people for their help with the project: Budweiser, for donating the caps and commissioning the work; Craig Bernstein of H&H Fab Works who built the custom trailer; My studio Assistant James Genito who helped assemble the flag on the trailer; My neighbor Ed Szafran for last minute wiring help; my step-son Don Gilberg and his wife Stacie who drove the flag to the festival and helped set it up on site; Stephen Blauweiss who shot the documentary; my wife Marcie Vargas who had to live with a giant project that took over a room of the house and did so with good cheer.

Below are some images and close-ups of the finished project.

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Me and Old Glory.

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Artist and artwork on tear down day after the festival.

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Old Glory.

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A close-up shot.

Old Glory

Another close-up shot.

Old Glory

Another close-up shot.

Old Glory at night

Old Glory lit at night with the Stagecoach Ferris wheel in the background.

Old Glory at night

Old Glory lit at night with the Stagecoach Ferris wheel in the background.

Old Glory at night

Old Glory lit at night.

Follow the creation of Old Glory from start to finish—

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