Artist spotlight: A new look for Old Glory

click to enlarge Artist spotlight: A new look for Old Glory
Gordon Hoffman
Gordon Hoffman added the extra star in the center of this photo he took of his American flag design.

With this week’s issue of Inland 360 coming out on the Fourth of July, it seemed like a good time to share this reimagined U.S. flag by Gordon Hoffman, of Lewiston, who provided this introduction and flag history. Hoffman created his version with repurposed plastic strips.
click to enlarge Artist spotlight: A new look for Old Glory
Self-portrait by Gordon Hoffman

I studied symbolism in college art school (the last year Lewis-Clark State College had the degree program, in 1979), which led to an interest in flag design. I wondered why the state stars were stuck in a box in the northwest corner. Our first flag was the same as the corporate flag of the East India Company, with a bed of red and white stripes and a British Union Jack in the corner. The U.S. flag has been revised 27 times since.

I played with several options, but the one that became my favorite was one where the 50 state stars fit into a country-sized star in the middle of the flag, on a bed of the original 13 colonial stripes. It’s symmetrical, so it can’t be backward. There’s also room for one more star in the middle, in case we want to add another state.

The last time our U.S. flag was revised was in 1958, when Alaska and Hawaii became states. The redesign from 48 stars to 50 stars was done the year earlier by Bob Heft, when he was a junior in high school.

The first flag of the USA was recognized in 1777 by Congress, and the design was done by Congressman Francis Hopkinson. The bed of stripes was set at 13, and 13 stars replaced the Union Jack symbol.

— Gordon Hoffman