John had been a prisoner of war for 3 1/2 years. So, there was hardship and adversity seen on his face from those years. John chose to turn his struggles as a POW into an art form. He created a wartime log of World War II. Creating caricatures of the soldiers captured and the events surrounding his imprisonment.
How John got in his predicament
John Cordwell was only 20 years old at this time. He had taken classes in architecture but never took the test. John had a premonition that he would not return from the war alive. He believed that there is no courage unless you are first scared. As a result, the pain and loneliness from that fear are represented in his deep wrinkles.
After entering the military and being given his assignments, he said he noticed a light above the head of some of the officers sitting in those instructional meetings. Eerily, those persons did not return from their mission. As he looked around during a meeting one day, he did not see a light. It took a few minutes before he realized the light was above his head. Thus, he felt he would not survive his mission. He was sure of his demise.
On November 7, 1941, Black Friday, his plane crashed but he was pulled out by a surviving soldier. It was not known whether he survived or was captured, the sad news was relayed to his family. His family struggled with this news. It was years before the really knew his fate.
The enemy found both he and his comrade. As a result, took them both into custody. Entering the prison camp where he lived those years and the wrinkles represented, he realized he had lost a most precious gift… LIBERTY… FREEDOM.
His prisoner of war art
His prisoner of war art depicts those days. Furthermore, the hope for survival and escape held them all together. Meanwhile, they had to keep their mind occupied. His most famous caricature of that time was Dhobie Day. Mr. Cordwell depicts their plans to escape and the results. With soldiers of many professions and knowledge, they strove every day to accomplish the ultimate… escape. To escape the harsh discipline was first on their minds. Actually, their very means of survival.
In conclusion, On May 7, 1945 the survivors were liberated. His log is a tribute to the people who did not make it home. To Liberty, Freedom, and the will and courage to survive. To sum up, John is a master storyteller. His stories complimented his artwork. His complete log depicts it all. John, no doubt, an everyday hero.