This past semester, my class of student veterans at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point joined forces with The Veteran Print Project and an advanced printmaking class at our university to produce fine art prints based on my students’ stories of military service, war, and coming home. I’ll be sharing pictures from the big reveal we had in May, as well as the artists’ statements and the work they produced.
I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that this was a tremendous opportunity for everyone to better connect, for my students to share their stories, and for the artists to create meaningful work on truly profound topics. Tolstoy said that the purpose of art was to provide a bridge of empathy between the artist and others. We took that concept one step further. By sharing their stories, my students connected with their artists, eliciting empathy and a better understanding. The artist then illustrated what they discovered for you, the viewer. The veteran then had the amazing opportunity to bear witness to their own stories and to see the ways in which their illustrated stories affected other viewers.
I hope that the work you see here will transform the way you think about war and veterans — I know it has for me.
Artist Statement, Amanda Shields:
Nathan Edict is a 23 year old Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. The majority of his service was spent in Quantico, VA. He also spent time in California and North Carolina. He worked as a disperser and as a MP or “Military Police” where he stood guard. Nathan thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Marine Corps. Being a part of the military gave his life the meaning and purpose for which he was searching. Knowing that he was apart of something bigger than himself allowed him to feel as though he was fostering fulfilling work.
In order to depict Nathan’s time in service, I decided to create a magical setting of the guard booth where he worked as a Military Police. He described some of the stories with his comrade in the guard station and he felt as though it was some of the best times of his life. I used whimsical clouds around a stylized guard station to embody the fun and fulfillment that he experienced while serving.