“Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism”

(The Inside Story)
“Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism”

Story by the Artist
Download/Print PDF

Thick Pillow Foam“Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism!” was actually created using thick pillow foam. Cutting the pillow foam was easy. But covering the soft foam grate and its support rim was a challenge.

It was tricky and sticky. Fitting the material over curved edges required many cuts, plenty
of fabric glue and a zillion dressmaker pins to secure each area until it dried.
After the camouflage pattern was painted in acrylic,
it did appear authentic and durable. But its softness surprised anyone touching it.

Act OF War
First I created a support for the rim, which is called a chimney. To the backing piece, I added a dimensional collage.
Bold white letters spelled out: ACT OF WAR. The letters were suspended above billowing clouds of oily black smoke. This dreadful attack on our home turf September 11, 2001 was not an accident. It was a calculated ACT of WAR.

Original Twin Towers
On the left, I inserted a small photo of the original twin towers.

The Architect, Minori Yamasaki’s vision for The World Trade Center was a living symbol of man’s dedication to world peace.
As I printed out his message for world peace, my eyes misted. The paper was aged with watercolors. I burned the top and bottom edges, and rolled the sides over little dowels. It looked like an “historical document:” a representation of man’s belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity and global cooperation.“Center Scene

In the center scene, terrified people fled from the towers through smoky debris-littered air. On the right, The American Flag boldly waved its red, white and blue. “Old Glory” was a beacon of hope in contrast to the ghostlike scene of the crumbling south tower

The last scene I added was the most heart wrenching. Five brave, soot-covered firemen grimly carried a fallen hero on a stretcher. The sixty-eight year old Fire Department Chaplain had been giving last rites to a fallen firefighter, when crashing debris killed him. Chaplain Mychal Judge was listed as the first body to be released from Ground Zero. Number one was attached to his death certificate.

Fallen FirefighterAfter adding that last crucial photo to the collage, I was emotionally drained. I don’t believe I have ever been so sadly
and passionately consumed by any artwork, as I was when I created “Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism.”

Read the Post Card Dedication on my website blog:

For more information, contact the artist by e-mail: bobbi@bobbimastrangelo.com

17 thoughts on ““Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism”

  1. Thank you for this impressive work of art. May it always stir people to remember what we lost and to protect what we hold dear.

    A little trivia about Father Mychal Judge, “the saint of 9/11.” He would often lead the congregation to sing “God bless America” after Mass, even when it wasn’t a patriotic holiday. How prophetic was that ?!

    Please visit the website dedicated to the life and work of Fr. Mychal —

  2. Dear Bobbi,

    When I saw your piece: “Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism” at the Solivita Artisans Exhibit, it truly captured me.
    I felt it. In my world of imagination, I was totally amazed. I never met one as creative as you.

    I so enjoy our working together in The Sol Writer’s Group.

    I wish you joy.

    8/10/2007 2:05:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

  3. Dear Bobbi

    Wow! What a moving tribute. I am glad that you
    have shown it to me. I wanted to tell you of my own plans f
    or the future, as you have been such a good friend and inspiration.

    I have resigned from the Long Island Museum as of next week, Friday, August 17,
    because my husband has received a fellowship to work with a research institute
    in Barcelona, Spain. So, combined with his sabbatical, off we go!
    (He is a marine microbiologist, or oceanographer, in the vernacular.)

    I hope to hear from you again sometime
    Be well and keep up the good work of art!

    Best wishes,

    Janice Taylor,
    Soon to be “Formerly of the Long Island Museum”

  4. Hello Bobbi…Thanks very much for sending the touching and heart warming
    story behind the making of your beautiful ‘grate art’..
    Don’t Go Soft Of Terrorism….It really is stunning…..
    It would look good,and be popular,on a postcard.
    Ron Griffiths England

    If you do produce a postcard I would like 12 please…
    also can I have 6 of your FREEDOM(2007)cards…
    I will of course pay for them. I have dollar bills,let me know costs

  5. Bobbi,

    I can only imagine how utterly consumed you were with this project. You must have been completely drained when it was finished. I liken it to the exhaustion that is felt after a pianist plays a Rachmaninoff Concerto. They are completely spent and still with the music long after the crowds are gone. What an artist you are!
    This piece must be on display in a museum or a public exhibit . It’s life must go on and on!

    I marvel at your uniqueness. The ideas that you present are original and appropriate
    and the fact that you bring them to life, is overwhelming!

    Loved speaking with you, Bobbi,
    Marilyn Abt

  6. Hi Bobbi,

    What a great blog. I love all the artwork. You will go down in history. Perhaps your works can be shown at a high school art class or a community gathering or the Poinciana Library.

    I am sure the students would appreciate your work and technique. Also, maybe at one of the flag raising ceremony’s your work could be displayed. Just a thought, the principal from the new high school will be visiting Solivita this coming Monday at coffee talk.

    Frankly, I am not sure if I understand the term blog and what it stands for in comparison with e-mails.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Carol Brzezinski

  7. Bobbi
    I’m blessed to be on your mailing list. As to the (Don’t Go Soft on Terrorism) I’m all for it.
    I think we need to remember. Even in the Bible Jesus reminds us to (do this in remembrance of me) When we share in the cup and bread, we remember the price that was paid for our sins. If we dont have a way to remember , a symbol, we have nothing and then we forget. Go forward with it and yes (let us never forget ) what started it all.

    God Bless!
    Pastor Scott Kraniak

    Check out Pastor Scott’s book at Amazon.com
    Spiritual Living in a Sexual World

  8. Father Judge was a favorite of ours at the office. We always said he had to be first so he could be waiting up in heaven to receive all the others. Thanks for the share.

  9. Hi Bobbi,

    Thank you for sharing these images and your thoughts. It is very sad to see such destruction and I wish the world would just stop the violence. Although I don’t think it will be in my lifetime, I hope that the future brings peace to mankind and the understanding to do so.

    It’s strange, but when I opened your email I was playing Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You”. It added a dimensional element to your piece and I wanted to share this song with you.

    Yuen Tang

  10. Dear Bobbi Mastangelo,

    I completely fell in love with your work when I
    wandered onto your blog from the saint of 9-11 site.

    I was wondering if there are prints of
    “Don’t go soft on terrorism” available.
    Is it in any book of your work?

    Thank you,
    Laury (Long Island NY)

  11. Dear Bobbi,

    We have a 130 lb Chocolate Lab named Bailey. Now that I’ve seen your work, everytime
    Bailey & I go for our walk, I notice all the different types of manhole covers & start
    to wonder about decorating them. Hey, a new place for graffitti! (only nice graffitti, though).

    I have begun stitching a piece in honor of 9-11. It’s the eagle with the Twin Towers. I have never seen so many shades of brown & black in my life. This is a true challenge, but I hope I do manage to finish it.

    Hope to hear from you soon.


  12. Good Morning , Bobbi ,

    Isn’t is something that a person who lives on LI would be asking for your postcard , etc ?
    Your “Don’t go Soft on Terrorism” is so unusual and I do like it.
    I am not surprised that people ask about it, as it is a stark reminder of 911.
    I wonder how you found the photos to use in this work.
    I am,once again, impressed with your creative ability!!!
    I would like to have been in your studio when you were putting it all together!!!!
    Marilyn Abt
    (Your former neighbor, still on Long Island)

  13. Informative blog post. Just recently I came across your blog and thought I should say I’ve got a kick out of checking out this blog’s commentaries. In any case, I will be signing up to your blog’s feed and I can’t wait to see what’s coming up.

  14. Bobbi…this one touched me deep into my soul. It reminded me of all of the innocent people we lost on 9/11/2001, and all the brave warrior we have lost since, who were defending and protecting our freedom. Thank you for sharing this with everyone…it is a stark, but beautiful, reminder of how we all felt that day.

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