Illustration of a black swan with some brown areas floating on red water. The background has a yellow sun with red rays. The outer edge is black and white alternating rectangles.
Tony Fitzpatrick is a Chicago based artist known for his fierce independence and outspokenness. Fitzpatrick is one of Chicago's most prominent artists. His work is displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
To Fitzpatrick, swans were like "beautiful black veils of death." The image of the black swan was inspired by Fitzpatrick's father with whom Fitzpatrick had an uneasy relationship, rebelled against but deeply respected. His father was a World War II veteran who took part in the Invasion of Okinawa, which was a "bloody, bestial engagement in which Americans took the islands inch-by-bloody-inch in some of the ugliest warfare ever." His father never spoke extensively or gave details of the Invasion, only contributing that it was sheer horror. He was aboard the U.S.S. Noble when the ship approached Okinawa, and he saw black swans lolling on the bloody water. He remembered them like "Black Death Flowers, rising and falling like tides," and he would remember this image whenever he was afraid.
Please see the link below for his father's story.