Art and Architecture, Books for the News, History

Not a “Zippohead”

jacket imageBradford Edwards, the artist whose astonishing collection of Vietnam-era Zippo lighters is featured in Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories (1965-1973), was interviewed yesterday on All Things Considered by NPR’s senior Asian correspondent Michael Sullivan. In the interview, which took place on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Sullivan explored Edwards unique fascination with these relics of war:

Edwards insists he’s not a “Vietnam Zippohead.”
“I’m not a Zippo collector. I’m not somebody into the Zippo, per se,” he says.…
“I’m not into it because, really, of the war or because of memorabilia or because of any real, I would say, direct historical aspect. I’m in it for the artistic sensibility and the direct emotional expression that you see via text or images,” he says.
Edwards calls the Zippos left behind “pure art without ambition”—personal narratives that capture the mixed emotions of a confusing time and place.

Navigate to the NPR website to view photographs of Edwards and displays of Zippos, plus the archived audio and transcript of the interview.