31 October 1953 |
In 1977, Strong carved John Wayne's face in a 12½-ton boulder that had fallen onto the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. In 1979, he sold it to an Arizona company and it currently resides in the library of the Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas.
Strong created a life-size bronze statue of John Lennon, entitled Imagine. He began work on the sculpture as a tribute to Lennon after the musician's death in 1980. Originally unveiled in New York City by Andy Warhol, it currently is in the possession of a private collector.
Strong painted a portrait of Michael Jackson entitled The Book which reportedly sold for $2.1 million to Hiromichi Saeki Corp. in 1990, making it the most money ever paid to a living artist for the sale of a portrait. This portrait is claimed to be the only portrait that Michael Jackson sat for an artist's rendering and made its first appearance since 1992 in July 2009. It was displayed for public viewing in Harlem near the Apollo Theater. Strong was a good friend of Michael Jackson and Strong's studio houses a large collection of Jackson's artwork.
In the 1980s, Strong completed work on the National Monument to the US Constitution, commissioned by former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. The monument was to have been dedicated by president George W. Bush and placed on the grounds of the White House. Currently the monument is part of a nationwide educational program entitled The Spirit of Freedom about the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.
In the mid 1980s, Strong's painting Homage a Henri Rousseau became the cover artwork for the Fleetwood Mac album Tango in the Night. The original painting had been bought by singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and was hanging in Strong's home at the time.
Strong created NASA's National Space Exploration Monument for display in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. In July 1994, Vice-President Al Gore announced this monument honouring the men and women of the United States Space Program and celebrating the anniversary of man's landing on the moon.
In the late 1990s Strong proposed a City of Angels Monument project designed to create a symbol for Los Angeles along the lines of New York's Statue of Liberty or Paris' Eiffel Tower. The $3.6 billion development was to cover nearly 100 acres (40 ha) in downtown Los Angeles with the central focus being a 750-foot (230 m) tower as the base for a 350-foot (110 m) female angel, wings spread, holding a sword of light above her head. The project was a partnered collaboration with Russell and Associates directors Barbara Russell and Jessica Russell along with Strong. Due to complications regarding Strong personal and professional life, various property and contracted obligations not met, the 8 years of package and project development did not go through creating partners and alliances to file for bankruptcy. Strong filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2005. International and renowned companies such as Sour, Gensler, and Bank of New York were attached to the project.
After Debbie Rowe, an ex-wife of Michael Jackson, had nominated Strong for knighthood, the Belgiom Duke of Gardham made Strong a knight (of the Imperial Orders of Constantine the Great and Saint Helen) in October 2009, in recognition of Strong's charitable work for children.
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