Ronald “Foots” Kynes, the lanky Brac resident who towers some 6 foot 8 inches, is a true Brac character. Mr. Kynes, creator among other things of the “Atlantis” underwater art installation, is an artist, builder and designer.
His art pieces have elicited much criticism and debate, but have been recognized in popular dive magazines worldwide, and by networks including CNN, NBC, and CBS.
One of Mr. Kynes’ latest works is an art piece of two “missiles” bearing the communist hammer and sickle pointing offshore, a source, according to Mr. Kynes, of much speculation and, as he calls it, “scuttlebutt.”
In fact, the so-called missiles are wing-mounted fighter jet fuel drop tanks, which Mr. Kynes picked up at a military auction in 2002. With a bit of paint and creativity, he transformed them into mock missiles, in a “theme art” piece he has dedicated to his late “Popa.”
“My father was a career military man, who was closely involved in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis,” said Mr. Kynes.
“We were watching a documentary on the event on the anniversary in 2002, and note he was a real ‘yes, sir, no, sir’ kind of father, and he turned to me and said, ‘Son, you never know how close you came to not waking up,’ and that was all he had to say. I dedicated this artwork, which is also kind of a joke, to him.”
The joke, aside from the missiles being fake? They really are aimed at the exact GPS coordinates of the White House, which was in the sights of the real Cuban missiles in 1962.
The artwork’s realistic appearance, though, was enough to send rumors abuzz.
“People here were speculating they were real missiles which had fallen off a Russian ship heading to Cuba, and more recently, that they are really filled with dynamite, and that there was a U.S. plane flying over the Brac using infrared to check to see whether they were armed or not,” said Mr. Kynes, incredulously.
He notes he always has art in the works, and his workshop currently resembles “an Orlando theme park,” in his words. Always open to company, Mr. Kynes warmly welcomes visitors and their accompanying criticism.
“An artist creates and the public judges,” he said. “Art is art, and this particular piece is all in good fun.”