Veterans Day 2014 has come and gone. Brave soldiers are still dying, but a new art exhibition is life-affirming as it introduces the everyday people who serve our country. They stare us in the eye, and their accompanying words share what is on their minds.
Artist Matt Mitchell has a singular approach to the 100 head-on pictures he painted – portraits of men and women who chose a path of service and sacrifice. He worked for nine years, met the subjects, recorded their often eloquent words, and painted their life-size portraits. Some were painted posthumously with assistance from the families.
This is the first exhibition of all 100 paintings, a cross-section of Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The artist: “This is not meant to be a gallery of people who represent some kind of ideal of service. Instead it is an attempt at a simple, open look at what the American involvement has been.”
The show is called “100 Faces of War.” It’s at the National Veterans Art Museum at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. It just opened and will be on view through April 2015.
Side note: though these portraits are grounded in reality, they were made by an artist best known for his work in fantasy. Matt Mitchell is a sought-after artist for the role-playing games Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.