These paintings are the unseen and rarely told personal stories of American veterans. They are portraits of vets that show the individual and the war they served in to create an image that shows how a soldier’s identity becomes enmeshed with their wartime experience. By using translucent layers of paint, the artist portrays the soldiers’ faces superimposed and surrounded with wartime scenes, with faces of friends who never returned home, and images of civilians from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Vietnam and Europe. Elements of life before deployment, the homelands and birth places of the soldiers, and their triumphs and frustrations after war, remind the viewer that vets are people first, and that it is impossible to look at war without looking at the individual men and women who have served in the military.
This series of work was motivated by the stark difference between the reports and photos we get at home, out of harm's way, and the reality experienced by soldiers on the front lines. The paintings were further motivated by veterans' stories about comrades who died in the wars, the memories of the circumstances of the deaths and the guilt that the survivors carry with them. Stories about the relationship a vet may have with the next generation of soldiers are also part of the story in the portrait. In addition, the paintings reveal how each individual veteran forever lives in the shadow of war; in this way, a veteran never stops being a soldier.