Artist: Ian Rhodes
Veteran: Mitchell H., US ARMY
Mitchell told me a few stories from all of his military experience. I was particularly interested in his time as a dispatcher on a military facility. He described it as both exciting and nerve wracking, sometimes boring, sometimes intense. It was a job that could be very rewarding but also a job like any other with frustrations, stress, and anxiety. I hoped to capture some of the highs and lows of the situations that Mitchell dealt with as a dispatcher in my print.
Artist: Alexis Anderson
Veteran: Joshua V.
Artist: Jennifer Ghormley
Veteran: Monica H., US Air Force
Participating in this project proved to be a valuable, eye-opening experience for me as an artist. My father was in the Air Force, stationed in Vietnam for a bit, so I grew up exposed to many stories and movies from the Vietnam war era. I am embarrassed to admit, but my initial, naïve impression of a ‘vet’ was someone old and weathered, with irreparable psychological and physical damage as a result of their service duties and self sacrifice for the good of the country. Upon meeting Monica, I quickly realized this was an archaic definition, and that many wars have passed since then, recruiting younger generations of soldiers along the way. Family history and a strong desire to travel and help people, Monica voluntarily enlisted in the Air Force when she was 19, and she hoped to make a difference in the lives of others. Her position was Security Forces, essentially the base law enforcement. I immediately thought “the peacekeeper”.
In listening to Monica’s story and learning about her experiences, one of the things that stuck with me was the physical impact one endures as a tool for waging war in order to establish peace. Monica mentioned that she has Tinnitus, or a constant ringing in the ears, as a result from being around loud noises, operating artillery, machine guns and grenade launchers, etc. So while she is no longer enlisted, and has a whole life of experiences ahead of her, this constant reminder will always be present. My piece is an interpretation of this event, as a grimacing textural face is recoiling from the exploding sounds of numerous M-16s emanating from the ear. While I am not necessarily pro-war, I do identify with a personal sacrifice one makes for the good of others. And a part of me is grateful in ways I simply cannot express.
Artist: Laura Grossett
Veteran: Casey M.
There is no narrative for this print.
Artist: Mara Tegethoff
Veteran: Joshua J., US Marine Corps
Joshua is someone who can be described with the words courageous, meticulous, and devoted. Through our conversation I began to understand his experience entering the Marine Corps at 18 as a highly trained MV-22 Osprey Mechanic, being stationed in Jacksonville, NC, and being one of the very few caretakers of the fleet of the specialized Osprey aircraft fleet.
I began to understand that Joshua, from a very early age, always was seeking excellence and would stop at nothing to reach his goals. This can be seen in many areas of Joshua’s life including in his position as a running-back in high school, his career with the Marine Corps, his training as an EMT, in his ambitious academic career as a triple pre-med/physics/ psychology major, and finally as a father and husband.
My immediate reaction to Joshua’s story was to think about flight and the physics involved in small and miraculous activities that happen in nature daily. It made me think of the exactitude of tree growth, of air currents, of water eddies, and of insects, and the saying “as below, so above”.
Artist: Michael De La Cruz
Veteran: Jonathan K., US Air Force
The work here is inspired by Air Force’s avionics technician Jonathan K.. Jonathan had many experiences and stories but I found this one in particular to be my favorite because of its cynical attributes and how his B2 bomber squad decided to land a dummy bomb inside the North Korean borders after they were televising their muscles against a stronger power. I enjoyed this drawing and brought me back to my cartooning days that I’ve backed away since my MFA pathway. Also, the B2 has always been my favorite piece of Military innovations.
Artist: Farrell Tompkins Preston
Veteran: Rob H., US Navy
As we talked, I gathered a sense of Rob’s military service as particularly controlled and disciplined. Schooling was very rigorous in his program (naval nuclear propulsion) and his longest submarine stint was a full 45 days. Rob described the hardship of the sailors who were kept on the submarine despite major family events such as the birth of their children. He also described the exhaustion of long hours awake. I was struck by the dichotomy of control versus freedom and the sense of Rob’s mental discipline as a positive force in his life. The rigidity of his experience is reinforced through the many repeating shapes, while Rob’s deep and varying mental attitudes are represented by the organic water/wood grain texture pulled out of the surface of the plate.