“Look away,” she whispers. “See who you saved, who you helped. Look away from the demons and what they’ve done. Please, see hope. You have so many more to save, including yourself.”
No Greater Love
Well-known first responder artist Jason Bullard of No Greater Love Art has teamed up with Karen Solomon of Blue H.E.L.P. to create a powerful trilogy depicting a desperate officer being saved from suicide. According to Solomon, “We want more than words, we want people to have an image in their head which will convince them that suicide amongst law enforcement is a real issue. We want them to step outside their comfort zone and help us solve this problem.”
The first print in the series, “Look Away,” has been released. It features Bullard’s photography and captioning by Solomon. “It seems simple,” Solomon said. “Jason takes a picture, I look at it and caption it, but it’s not. It’s really an emotional process and trying to get it right is nerve wracking. What we are doing is so important, we want to make the families that lost their loved ones to suicide proud of our work.”
Here is Solomon’s interview with Jason Bullard.
How long have you been creating first-responder art? Why did you get into it?
Ten years, I started out doing concept art for other artists who basically needed ideas. I would create much of the image then they would copy it. As my work got better I decided to keep the ideas and release my own works to the public. My first piece was “No Greater Love-American Soldier,” the image depicts a soldier with wings that embody the American Flag. Every time I started to create something new I always had the urge to create something for the people of our world that put their life on the line to help, protect or save others.
When you were first approached for this commission, what were your thoughts?
At first I was very excited because it was something new I haven’t done yet. Then after trying to visualize a concept for the piece over the next few days it occurred to me that trying to illustrate a powerful positive message combined with such awful circumstances was going to be tricky. It’s not like a movie where you have several scenes to deliver a message. You have to deliver it in one frozen shot.
Why did you decide to do it?
Because this subject needs attention more than ever. My hope is that I could create an image that will help an officer struggling with the thoughts of suicide to take his or her eyes off their many circumstances and refocus on the extreme importance of their life. Just like a song, a movie, a good friend etc., a piece of art has the power to speak or persuade the viewer to see another way, another path perhaps.
How long did it take you to come up with the concept?
About 2 weeks on this one, unusually long. Normally it only takes me a few minutes. Once I start thinking about a certain subject or idea images begin to form in my mind. This concept just created voids, then voids turned to dark lonely images. The first images that came to mind was images of dark figures by the hundreds walking down a street, each holding on to someone needing help, such as a rape victim, a child being kidnapped, a young boy being abused. A police officer walking through the crowd unaware of the crimes taking place and the screams for help he could not hear because of his own pain but such an image was very dark. I had to come up with something that had darkness but had hope. The idea of trying to combine a positive message while including so much pain and struggle into one single shot was a bit perplexing.
Most of your work is very bright and hopeful. I’ll be honest, when I first saw it I thought it was shocking, not your usual style. Why did you choose this type of setup?
I just felt like the realism needed to be a little stronger than my past works. In hopes that the viewer can identify with the many pieces of symbolism features in the image.
What’s your favorite art work?
I am crazy about art! The very thought of trying to list my favorite makes my mind go into a speed wobble.
Of your own?
Of my works, it is for sure a piece titled “Angelic Rescue.“ It is one of my youngest daughter Abigail being carried by her daddy police officer.
How do you feel about the rest of the series? Do you think it will have an impact on people?
The remaining images are going to be powerful! I almost hate to give it away. I will say this, the story has a great ending! I HOPE SO! If the images have just enough impact to help change the motivation of just one officer it will have been well worth it.
Bullard’s art can be found on his site No Greater Love Art. “Look Away” can be only purchased through Blue H.E.L.P., Blue H.E.L.P. is a 501(c)3 organization and all proceeds will be used for LE suicide prevention programs and support for the families after a suicide. For licensing information, [email protected]. The remaining pieces will be released in February.