My American Dream: City of Angels
Battle of Los Angeles, February 24/25, 1942, 2024 Oil on linen 60 × 75”
Battle of Los Angeles, February 24/25, 1942, 2024
Oil on linen 60 × 75”

The Battle of Los Angeles is based on a famous photograph, reproduced on the front page of the Los Angeles Times the day after the incident on February 25,1942 of an infamous occurrence, just two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, that many people thought this was some sort of Japanese attack.  There was a flying object that was tracked on radar, and that was then seen visually.  The US military then fired 1,430 rounds of artillery with many ground and military witnesses—some who claimed there were more than one of these flying objects—but all the army’s anti-aircraft barrage were unable to bring any down.  There weren’t any Japanese planes in the air or aircraft carriers in the area, and the objects that were being fired at mysteriously just disappeared.

This happened before the whole UFO phenomena took hold, and “hundreds of thousands of people saw” the phenomena, took pictures of it, before the fourteen hundred rounds were fired into the sky and it went unscathed.  Thirteen hours before this, a lone Japanese submarine had fired 13 rounds at an oil refinery in Santa Barbara causing only $500 in damage, and California was on high alert, and the radar signals and strange lights in the sky caused mass hysteria, but the tepid explanation of weather balloons or Japanese planes, none of which were ever found, explains away the incident, which is why many think this may be one of the first sightings of  “real UFO’s”.

Days later after all the news had spread the Roosevelt administration declared it a false alarm, despite the witnesses and the obvious fact this was a real thing, and the object was oblivious to the firing.  However, decades later, it was found that Army Chief of Staff had written to President Roosevelt days later after the would-be attack:

“This headquarters has come to the determination that the mystery airplanes are in fact not earthly and according to secret intelligence sources they are in all probability of interplanetary origin”.

Although disputed, there are more documents that have come to light that there were multiple events over LA and San Bernadino where objects were retrieved that were not from our civilization.   The Roosevelt administration chose to cover up these events to avoid hysteria, but many believe this is where the coverup about UFOs all began.

In the photo in the LA Times, it had been touched up from the original, which is now also online (but alas, no high-res versions!), but only to brighten up the image (that was underdeveloped) with a few more spotlights, and felt it was this image that I should use as it’s such a famous image that inspired so much history.  I like to paint the “noise” of the image as if it’s “real” and ruminate (and channel) the energy and imagery, as I listen to audiobooks and music playlists that help to inform me about the image which acts as a talisman to my imagination as I build from the photo into a painterly painting of warmth and emotion.  Part of the power of cartoons is that they are essentialized images that are simplified from reality that mimic how we dream and think of imagery—if we could project our dreams on a screen, perhaps a smiley-face like ghost would be like “grandpa”, and so on.  When we are looking at detailed images, that are hard to cognize, I feel that we see and organize information in our mind’s eye with literal eyes and faces—like seeing “faces in clouds”.   With the noise of the original image of Battle of Los Angeles, there was so much energy and intensity, that was also very abstract in so many ways, that as I at micromanaged the detail, I would see strange “eyes” and faces, almost like the entities that could be creating the phenomena were watching telepathically in the sky.  Also thinking about where we are today in our endangered planet, and fear of the politics that are leading us into wars across the planet—much like the times of WWII.