"Honor and Sorrow" is an acrylic painting on canvas that measures 36” X 24.” This is a piece that is very personal to me. It is faceless and genderless, to convey that the effects of war are never bias. I’ve placed deliberate lines and textures underneath to portray an internal struggle that is often found in the aftermath. Despite the reality that ‘limbs missing’ are an unfortunate by-product of war, my attempt is to show (capture) a metaphorical immobility that can be felt. When someone struggles it can be very hard to take the first step. In my case it was asking for help. I felt stuck and directionless. The use of red is deliberate and ultimately represents war. I hope to show a continuation or a sense of order. Wars start from above with troops somewhere in the middle between policy and weapons. Honor and sorrow are two sides to a coin that forever will be in my heart.
My history as an artist is this. As a youth, I was involved in several established art programs from elementary to high school. In college I minored in fine art. (I joined the military after 9/11.) Fast forward to a few years ago, it took art therapy, toward the end of my military career (I medically retired in ‘14), to realize that the artist in me died during my first deployment in 2005. Although a subconscious decision, the artist in me was replaced by a void and darkness. It took a while for me to understand that I saw art as hopeful, alive, and good, and that these were all adjectives I didn't believe in or see in me anymore. (I copied, doodled, did things for commands or birthdays, but never created, until recently.) Art therapy was the defibrillator my ‘artistic’ heart needed to start again. As a result, I've been pursuing art therapy through the DoD's Vocational Rehabilitation Program. I’m still in the pre-requisite stage of this journey with aspirations to attend George Washington University.
COPING THROUGH ART
I would not be where I am today without the amazing support of these non-profit organizations: Semper Fi Fund/America's Fund, The 296 Project, Armed Service Arts Partnership, and CreatiVets Through these organizations I've found a community that keeps me connected, grounded, and accountable. It is my hope to one day through my art, especially music, to “pay it forward” financially and otherwise to all that have been there for me during my greatest time of need.