Saturday, January 18, 2020

Las Vegas

With sketchbook in hand I walked down the Las Vegas Strip towards the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Across the street a large Statue of Liberty wore a Golden Nights sports jersey and I had to sketch. The jersey took 4 straight days to make, weighs 600 pounds and is 28 feet tall. It took six hours to get her dressed. The back dons the number 17 and the name Budweiser. It is a bit sad that she has been turned into an advertising billboard for beer.

Also in the scene was Ellis Island and the Empire State Building. I used to work in the Empire State building and the large windows could be opened and I liked to sit on the ledge of the window looking out and straight down. I liked to watch the window washers at work. They would snap a restraining harness to a latch on the outside of the window frame and then lean out to squeegee the window. No that is a job that took some real guts.

This replica decorates the New York, New York Casino. The United States Post Office decided to print a postage stamp using the face of the statue of Liberty. In stead of using the face of the statue in New York, they used the face of this Las Vegas statue created by artist Robert S Davidson.

Davidson, born and raised in Las Vegas, completed the Statue of Liberty replica in 1996 for MGM Resorts International, when the casino operator opened its latest theme casino New York-New York. Davidson said in court documents that he wanted to give his replica a face that was “a little more modern, a little more feminine” and looked for inspiration from a photograph of his mother-in-law, Lucille Schwartz.
Davidson sued the post office for copyright infringement. The stamp was first issued in December of 2010. About 4 billion copies of the stamp were printed by USPS.  The post office mistook the face for the statue that has stood in New York Harbor since 1886. Getty images was paid $1200 for the right to use the photo on the stamp. The stamp generated about $2.1 billion in sales for the Postal Service, according to court filings. The artist was awarded nearly $3.6 million in 2018 by a federal court that ruled the U.S. Postal Service infringed his copyright when it mistakenly used an image of his statue on the stamp.

The only thing that keeps this scene from looking like it could be NYC is that large palm tree to the right of Lady Liberty. The tree looks about as tall as she is. This statue is about half the size of the original in New York Harbor. This replica took 11 months to complete. Hopefully I will be safe for having turned my eye towards Lady Liberty. To date I have made $0 for having sketched her.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: